Iowa poll: Scott Walker leads GOP field

Iowa poll: Scott Walker leads GOP field
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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is the top choice for Iowa GOP voters ahead of the 2016 caucuses in the state according to a new poll. But Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulBusiness, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (Ky.) is right behind.

Walker leads the field with 15 percent of voters, according to the poll from the Des Moines Register. His stock has been rising in conservative circles, especially in the Hawkeye State, after a strong showing at the Iowa Freedom Summit last week.

Paul is nipping at Walker’s heels with 14 percent support. Iowa Republicans received the Paul family brand of libertarianism well in 2012, when Rand Paul’s father, former Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), ran for president. The elder Paul initially came in third, and his campaign went on to secure the majority of the state’s delegates unbound by those results.

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2012 Republican Party nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union For 2020, Democrats are lookin’ for somebody to love Trump religious adviser calls anti-Trump evangelicals 'spineless morons' MORE secured 13 percent backing in the poll, but he announced on Friday that he won’t be running in 2016. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former neurosurgeon Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonDemocrats veer left as Trump cements hold on Republicans Trump HUD official: 'I don't care if I'm not supposed to be tweeting during the shutdown' Top Trump official resigned over White House plan to withhold disaster-relief funds from Puerto Rico: report MORE, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush round out the top six GOP candidates, with 10, nine, and eight percent support respectively.

After that, support falls off. Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) come next at five and four percent respectively. And a mass of Republican contenders, including Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (Texas), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and real estate magnate Donald Trump round out the group, with the lowest amount of support measured.

The Iowa caucuses are vital because they are the first contest in the presidential nominating process. But there’s still a year left to go, and anything can happen. 

Just months before the 2012 Iowa caucuses, former Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) won among Republicans in the Ames straw poll, a popular pre-caucus poll. She won five percent of the popular vote and zero delegates in the actual caucuses, prompting her to drop out of the race.