Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who made headlines last week after Democrats jumped on a comment he made about their treatment of women, is the new 2016 favorite of Republican primary voters, according to a new poll out Wednesday.
Huckabee leads the primary field with 16 percent of the vote in Public Policy Polling’s new national poll, up three points from PPP’s poll last month. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is also on the rise: he jumped to second place with 14 percent, up from 10 percent last month.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was the frontrunner in December with 19 percent of the vote, has fallen to 13 percent this month in the wake of the bridge scandal that has dogged him the past few weeks. But he still ranks third among the possible candidates.
Huckabee’s rise has come, in part, at the expense of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose numbers fell from 14 percent last month to 8 percent this month. In PPP’s December poll, Cruz was the favorite among Republican primary voters who identify as “very conservative,” with 23 percent saying they favored him, compared to 14 percent who preferred Huckabee.
But in the January poll, possibly in light of all the attention he’s has received over the last week, Huckabee is now the favorite of very conservative voters with 23 percent support, while just 11 percent say they would vote for Cruz.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is at 11 percent, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and Cruz tie at 8 percent support. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is at 6 percent support, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is at 5 percent.
If Huckabee were to stay out of the race, Bush and Christie jump to the top with 18 percent and 17 percent respectively. Paul moves up to 13 percent and Cruz gets 11 percent.
The poll surveyed 457 Republican primary voters from January 23-26, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points. With the election over two years away, polls at this point are hardly definitive, but they are indicative of shifting views of the potential contenders.