The latest on the presidential horse race.

Ryan Most Popular, Christie Least Popular Republican in Iowa Poll

Des Moines Register, 12/8-12/11
Iowa Republicans

  • Ryan: 73 favorable, 10 unfavorable
  • Huckabee: 66 favorable, 17 unfavorable
  • Santorum: 58 favorable, 21 unfavorable
  • Perry: 55 favorable, 19 unfavorable
  • Paul: 51 favorable, 23 unfavorable
  • Christie: 51 favorable, 30 unfavorable

According to a new Des Moines Register poll, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is the most popular Republican among registered GOP voters and an early frontrunner for Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus.

The poll, conducted in December, sampling 650 registered Iowa voters, found that 73 percent of Iowa Republicans had a favorable view of former Vice Presidential nominee and lead budget negotiator Paul Ryan. He also has the lowest unfavorables and undecideds of any other Republican on the poll with just 10 percent of Republicans in the Hawkeye state holding an unfavorable view of the Congressman and just 17 percent unsure.

Coming in second to Ryan’s popularity was former Arkansas Governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee with 66 percent of respondents holding a favorable view of the potential 2016 candidate. That’s hardly a surprise since Huckabee won the Iowa caucus in 2008 with 34.3 percent of the vote to Mitt Romney’s 25 percent and ultimate nominee John McCain’s 13 percent. Seventeen percent of respondents did say that they hold an unfavorable view of the former governor and another 17 percent were not sure.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, who won the most votes in the 2012 Iowa caucus with 24.56 percent of the vote to Mitt Romney’s 24.53 and Ron Paul’s 21.43 (but lost the actual caucus because of the way delegates are chosen) finished third. Fifty-eight percent of Iowa Republicans said they have a favorable view of Santorum while 21 percent have an unfavorable view.

Texas Governor Rick Perry finished also ahead of the GOP frontrunners with a 55 percent favorable rate and 19 percent unfavorable.

More importantly, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, two of the frontrunners in the national polls, trailed up the rear. Both Paul and Christie have a 51 percent favorable rate but Paul’s unfavorable rate is 23 percent while Christie’s was highest among all Republicans with 30 percent of Iowa Republicans holding an unfavorable view of the Jersey governor.

Christie remains the frontrunner in national polls but could see a more conservative threat emerge in the early caucuses and primaries in 2016.

(Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)