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Jeb Bush Collapses, Marco Rubio Surges in Iowa

May 5, 2015 - 6:00pm

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., is floundering in Iowa, home of the important first presidential caucus contest, while U.S Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is becoming a contender in the Hawkeye State, a new poll shows.

Qunnipiac University released a poll on Wednesday showing Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., leads the pack of Republican presidential candidates in Iowa with 21 percent followed by Rubio and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., with 13 percent each. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is in the mix with 12 percent followed by former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., the winner of the 2008 caucus who kicked off his presidential bid on Tuesday.

Dr. Ben Carson, who launched his campaign on Monday, takes 7 percent, with Bush in seventh with 5 percent. Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., and former Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, pull 3 percent each followed by businesswoman Carly Fiorina, who announced on Monday, Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., the winner of the 2012 Iowa caucus, with 2 percent apiece. Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., takes 1 percent while U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., takes less than 1 percent.

In a Qunnipiac poll from February, Walker led with 25 percent, Bush was in a large pack battling for second with 10 percent and Rubio garnered only 4 percent.

The poll has other warnings for Bush as 25 percent of Iowa Republicans say they definitely do not support him, the highest of any of the candidates, followed by Christie with 20 percent and Paul with 10 percent.

Bush is also upside down with Iowa Republicans, with 45 percent seeing him as unfavorable and 39 percent viewing him in a favorable light. Bush is not seen as conservative enough by 45 percent of Iowa Republicans.

Rubio has the highest favorable numbers in the field with 69 percent viewing him as favorable and only 9 percent seeing the senator as unfavorable. Most Iowa Republicans -- 65 percent -- think Rubio is about right on the issues.

Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, said Rubios campaign launch in Miami last month paid off for him.

"The first few months of the Iowa Republican caucus race show Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the early leader, Brown said on Wednesday. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, on the strength of an impressive candidacy roll-out, has moved from the bottom of the pack into a tie for second. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has yet to formalize his candidacy while he amasses what most expect to be a massive fundraising lead, runs seventh with just 5 percent of the vote.

"More of those surveyed view Bush unfavorably than favorably, compared to Walker's 5:1 positive ratio, Brown added. And 45 percent say Bush is not conservative enough. It's among the GOP conservative base that Bush finds himself trailing Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul.

"For national unknowns like Walker and Rubio, a fast start in Iowa may be critical to their chances of overall success, while supporters of national names like Bush note that fewer than half of Iowa winners wind up inhabiting the Oval Office, Brown said in conclusion.

The poll of 667 likely Iowa Republican caucus voters was taken from April 25-May 4 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter:@KevinDerbySSN

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