PPP, the Democratic-leaning robopollster, took another look at Iowa two years before the next round of caucuses and found that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dominates the potential Democratic field while the Republican electorate remains divided. Mike Huckabee is in first place among potential GOP contenders, but at just 17 percent. He was followed by Rand Paul at 14 percent and Jeb Bush at 13 percent, and handful of others struggling to get out of single digits.
Mr. Huckabee's lead was not surprising; he won the GOP caucuses there in 2008. But the 2012 winner, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum got no love from PPP. He wasn't even included in the survey.
PPP's Tom Jensen explains the omission:
"The main reason is that with an automated poll you're limited to including 9 candidates. We were including him in our 2016 polling for most of last year, but he was consistently finishing in last place with 3 or 4%. He was even in 5th place in December when we did a poll in Pennsylvania- pretty bad with your home state voters.
"So when there started to be more speculation that Huckabee would get in, we replaced Santorum with him because frankly they have the same base, but that base likes Huckabee a lot more, so if Huckabee runs Santorum is irrelevant. We'll put Santorum back in if he announces he's running or Huckabee makes it clear he's not. But at any rate I don't think Santorum's likely to go anywhere with a stronger field than 2012 based on what we were seeing over the course of last year.''