Mike Huckabee, Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush are in a dead heat to win the 2016 Iowa Republican caucuses, according to a new poll sponsored by The Daily Caller and Vox Populi Polling.
Of the Republicans polled from April 22-24, Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, took in 20 percent; Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman and 2012 vice presidential nominee, won 19 percent; and Bush, the former governor of Florida and brother of former President George W. Bush, garnered 18 percent.
Other possible Republicans are in single digits in the poll: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (9 percent); Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (9 percent); Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (8 percent); New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (7 percent); and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (6 percent).
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, also believed to be pondering a dark-horse White House run — but facing challenges because of the liberal network where he works — came in last place in the poll of Iowa Republicans with just 4 percent of the vote.
Huckabee, a Fox News host, won the GOP Iowa caucuses in 2008. With newly-acquired wealth and a loyal following of social conservatives, Huckabee is expected to strongly consider a 2016 run.
Ryan, poised to become chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in the House, has not made many moves yet indicating he is serious about running but remains popular among the donor class of the GOP.
Bush, who like Huckabee and Ryan passed on running for the White House in 2012, is believed to be taking seriously the notion of a 2016 campaign, though is expected to face problems with the Republican base over his support for immigration reform and Common Core educational standards.
While Republicans are preparing for a competitive nominating process in 2016, Democrats appear ready to coalesce behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she pulls the trigger on a run.
Of Iowa Democrats polled, Clinton took in 71 percent, followed by 13 percent for Vice President Joe Biden, who has not closed the door on another run for president. (Biden ran for president in 1988 and 2008.)
Clinton, who lost the Democratic nomination to President Obama, is considering a run, though it’s widely speculated that her health could keep her out of the race. Conservative have also vowed to make the Benghazi attacks of 2012 a major issue if she runs.
But despite the recent chatter that the liberal Massachusetts senator and Wall Street foe Elizabeth Warren could be a formidable populist challenger to Clinton in a Democratic primary, Iowa voters prefer Clinton seven times as much: Warren — who nearly lost her race for Senate in 2012 because of questions about why she once claimed minority status as a Native American — would win just 10 percent in an Iowa Democratic caucus, according to the poll.
Other Democrats are in single digits in the poll: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (3 percent); former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (2 percent); and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (1 percent).
The poll surveyed a total of 600 Iowa voters, including 38 percent self-identified independents, 34 percent self-identified Democrats and 28 percent self-identified Republicans.
The poll also asked voters about the competitive Iowa Senate race in 2014: 42 percent of voters said they preferred Democratic candidate Bruce Braley over the eventual Republican nominee. Forty-one percent said they will vote for the generic Republican candidate in the race.
Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is retiring. Republicans running for the nomination include State Sen. Joni Ernst and former Reliant Energy CEO Mark Jacobs.
The 2014 Iowa gubernatorial race is also shaping up to be a tight contest, according to the polling. Forty-five percent of the polled would vote for incumbent Republican Gov. Terry Branstad over Democrat candidate Jack Hatch, who won 43 percent in the poll.