When Gravis Marketing released a poll yesterday showing Scott Walker leaping out to a big lead in Iowa with 24% of the vote, a lot of observers probably made a mental note but ignored it, since the firm has a spotty track record. But now the more firmly established Quinnipiac University outfit has a new Iowa poll in the mix, and it’s showing the same thing (as did a national poll by PPP we discussed yesterday).

In fact, Q-Pac has some of the best news for Walker yet. Aside from enjoying 25% support from likely caucus-goers (with Paul at 13%, Huck and Carson at 11%, and Bush at 10%), his approval ration is a happy 57/7, and he’s running equally well (30%) among the much-coveted “somewhat conservative” voters and the influential “very conservative” folk.

Meanwhile, Q-Pac shows the presumed “moderate” front-runners, Bush and Christie, having all sorts of problems. Jebbie’s approval ratio is a dangerously low 41/40, and fully 26% of respondents say they would “definitely not support” Bush for the nomination (for Walker, that number is 3%). Christie, too, arouses 26% of respondents to say they “definitely” wouldn’t support him, and his approval ratio is a terrible 30/54. If there’s any silver lining for the “moderates” it’s for Marco Rubio. Although he is the first choice of only 4% of likely caucus-goers, his approval ratio (48/15) is a whole lot better than Jebbie’s, and the bullseye he once had on his back as Mr. Amnesty seems to have faded, with only 5% saying they definitely would not support him.

All in all, though, Walker’s rapidly consolidating an enviable position almost everywhere, with the endless and interminable hype about Jeb’s money making him a natural rallying point for hardcore conservatives who may deep in their hearts long for Cruz or Paul or Huck or Carson or Santo but feel they need someone with a good electability argument to counter the somewhat groundless but powerful MSM assumption that Bush is the strongest general election candidate in the field.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.