If pro-life former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee decides to run again for the Republican nomination to take on pro-abortion President Barack Obama, he will again win the Iowa caucus, according to a new poll.
However, if he decides against mounting a second presidential bid, former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney would lead the race — which is what a new poll from the PPP firm shows that was released this morning.
Huckabee remains the clear GOP frontrunner in Iowa, where 27% of Republicans name Huckabee as their first choice compared to 16% for Romney, 14% for Donald Trump, 9% for Newt Gingrich, 8% for Sarah Palin, 6% for Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, and 5% for Tim Pawlenty.
“Huckabee’s doing pretty well with every segment of the GOP electorate in the state,” the firm’s director Tom Jensen noted. “He edges out Trump 23-20 with voters describing themselves as Tea Partiers and has a wider 28-19 advantage over Romney with Republicans who don’t consider themselves part of that movement. He also does pretty well going across the ideological spectrum- he trails Romney 23-21 with those describing themselves as moderates, but has a 27-17 advantage over Romney with voters describing themselves as ‘somewhat conservative’ that expands to 29-14 with those labeling themselves as ‘very conservative.'”
Despite the hoopla over Trump, the iconoclastic businessman who recently indicated he has experienced a conversion on abortion and is now pro-life, the poll finds he doesn’t seem to have a lot of appeal to Republicans in the state. He has only a narrowly positive favorability rating with 41% of voters saying they like him to 40% who don’t.
Should Trump decide not to run for the Republican nomination, Huckabee leads with 30% to 18% for Romney, 12% for Palin and Gingrich, 7% for Pawlenty, and 6% for Bachmann and Paul. Those numbers, PPP says, are “identical to what we found in the state in January, indicating that nothing that’s happened over the last three months has had much impact on the state of the race in Iowa beyond the possible Trump candidacy.”
Looking at the changes between January and today, pro-life former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty saw his support rise from 4 to 7 percent, Paul’s support is steady at 6%, and Gingrich is down a single point from 13% to 12%. While Pawlenty, PPP said, is the “winner” in the poll in terms of increased support, PPP says the “loser” is Palin by virtue of her support dropping from 15 to 12 percent in three months.
Meanwhile, if Huckabee sits out the presidential contest, Romney will become the favorite in Iowa as, without Huckabee and Trump, Romney leads with 25% to 15% each for Paul, Palin, and Gingrich, 10% for Bachmann and 9% for Pawlenty. Without Palin in the field, too, Romney stands at 28% to 19% for Gingrich, 16% for Paul, 15% for Bachmann, and 9% for Pawlenty.
The new PPP poll also found some tough news for Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, as just 11 percent of Iowa Republicans say they would vote for a candidate who supported a bill at the state level mandating that people have health insurance, similar to the controversial Obamacare legislation, compared to 63 percent who say that candidate would be disqualified from receiving their vote.
“It will be interesting to see if Romney’s support can hold up once voters in the state get bombarded with communication about his health care record,” Jensen said.
Lokoing at each of the candidates, the poll found their net favorable ratings (the net positive after voters with a negative view of the potential candidate are subtracted from those with a positive view) as follows: Huckabee +49, Paul +38, Bachmann +36, Pawlenty +32, Romney +30, Palin +29, Gingrich +21, Trump +1.
See the full results of the poll at http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Release_IA_04191118.pdf