Barry McNamara  |   Published July 06, 2015

Monmouth College poll: Walker, Clinton top hopefuls in Iowa

Monmouth College-KBUR poll provides an early glimpse of next year’s Iowa caucus
  • The first of three planned Iowa polls by Monmouth College is association with KBUR radio, the recent survey looked at such demographics as gender, age, region and even preference in music.
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker maintains a lead among likely Iowa Republican caucus attendees, while former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton holds a more than 3-to-1 advantage over her closest Democrat competitor, according to a new poll conducted by Monmouth College’s Midwest Matters initiative and radio station KBUR-AM in Burlington, Iowa.

On the GOP side, Walker was preferred by 18 percent, six points ahead of former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Several candidates were at or near the 10 percent level including, respectively, Kentucky senator Rand Paul, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Florida senator Marco Rubio and Texas senator Ted Cruz. Billionaire businessman Donald Trump was next at 7 percent.

Trailing the pack are retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and New Jersey governor Chris Christie (5 percent), former Texas governor Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (both at 4 percent), businesswoman Carly Fiorina (3), Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (2) and Ohio governor John Kasich (1). Only 3 percent of the respondents are undecided.

“Walker enjoys widespread support among age groups, regions of Iowa and across musical preferences,” said Robin Johnson, host of “Talking Politics” on KBUR-AM and a political science lecturer at Monmouth College, where he is one of the driving forces behind the college’s Midwest Matters initiative. “What’s interesting is the support Trump receives among men and voters 35-44. He may not win, but he will be a factor in shaping the debate.”

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is the closest Democrat to Clinton, with 20 percent support. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley is at 5 percent, former Virginia senator Jim Webb is at 3 percent and former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chaffee is at 1 percent. Another 8 percent of respondents are undecided.

“Clinton enjoys widespread support among Iowa Democrats,” said Johnson. “Sanders has made some inroads among younger voters and men.”

Through its Midwest Matters initiative, Monmouth College seeks to be a catalyst for innovation and change that will add value and enrich lives. By exchanging ideas about the region’s economy, culture and future potential, the college hopes to not only educate its students about important Midwest issues, but to be a part of the solution, as well. As part of the initiative, Johnson has held post-election forums on campus in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and has conducted polls on important regional issues, such as unions, immigration and globalization.

This latest poll is the first in a series of three to be conducted between now and the Feb. 1 caucus date. Each will feature presidential preference, gender, age and region, along with a pop culture question.

“We included the pop culture question so that it might provide something unexpected,” said Johnson, who noted that country and classical music were the top choices of Iowa’s Republican caucus-goers. “The next poll will have a different pop culture subject. We’re looking forward to having some fun with it.”

Some other significant findings from the tabulation of GOP poll results:

  • Gender: Bush leads among women and Walker leads among men. Trump runs second among men. Fiorina, the only woman in the race, polls equally among men and women (3 percent). 
  • Age: Bush leads among the youngest and oldest age categories in the poll (18-24 and 65+). Paul leads among voters 25-34, Trump among voters 35-44 and Walker among voters 45-64.
  • Region: In the nine regions of the state, Walker leads in five of them, Huckabee in three and Bush in one. Walker is first or second in all of the nine regions. In the central region, which includes the vote-rich Des Moines area, Walker leads with 13 percent of the vote, followed by Bush at 11 and Paul, Rubio and Cruz at 10. Walker did best in the region abutting his state, with 25 percent in northeastern Iowa. In southeastern Iowa, most of which comprises the KBUR listening area, Huckabee leads with 16 percent, followed by Paul, Rubio and Walker at 15 percent. 
  • Music: Walker leads in all of the musical categories except rap and jazz. He leads in country and classical and runs particularly well among R&B and pop fans. Christie, Rubio and Fiorina run well among jazz listeners.
There is a wide gender gap in the support of the Democratic favorites, with Clinton ahead of Sanders among women by 69 to 14 percent, while her lead among men is at 52 to 31 percent.

Clinton also leads among all age groups except the youngest voters (18-24), where Sanders leads 52 to 42 percent. Clinton enjoys an especially large lead among Democrats 45-54 (84 to 8 percent). Sanders generally performed better among voters under 45, while Clinton performs better among Iowa Democrats older than 45.

Clinton leads in all regions of the state and does best in southwest and south central Iowa. Sanders comes closest in northwest Iowa, the only region where Clinton is under 50 percent (44 to 25 percent). In the vote-rich central and east central regions, Sanders does slightly better than his statewide performance, but Clinton still enjoys a wide lead. O’Malley broke double figures in west central Iowa (12 percent).

Among the likely Democrat caucus-goers, classical music rates most popular at 25 percent followed closely by country at 24. Next are rock (13) and pop (11). Clinton leads in all music categories and beats Sanders in the two most popular genres, classical (53 to 23 percent) and country (66 to 20 percent). Perhaps reflecting her Baby Boomer background, she does best among rock fans (70 to 20 percent) while Sanders does best among fans of R&B (30 percent) and jazz (26). While Chaffee received only 1 percent of the vote overall, he was favored by two of the six rap music fans, with the rest favoring Clinton.

The poll of 1,000 automated responses among likely Republican caucus-goers was conducted for Monmouth College and KBUR by We Ask America on June 27-29 and has a margin of error rate of +- 3.1%.     Complete GOP poll results can be found here and complete Democratic polls results can be found here.
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