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Ryan, Huckabee most popular 2016 contenders among Iowa Republicans; Paul, Cruz, Rubio, and Walker trail

According to the first Des Moines Register poll of the 2016 Iowa Caucus campaign, 2012 GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan easily leads the pack, clearly outdistancing the darlings of the crazies,  Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

Thank God.

Ryan has a 73% popularity rating, compared with 66% for 2008 winner Mike Huckabee, 58% for 2012 winner Rick Santorum, 55% for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and 51% each for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

In one of the most encouraging set of stats I've seen in a long time where Iowa Republicans are concerned, I am thrilled to say that the intemperate junior senator from Texas, Ted Cruz- the man with the bad habit of labeling any Republican who disagrees with him about even minor matters of strategy a "traitor-" is tied with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at the bottom of the rankings, with a 46% favorability rating. Few Iowa Republicans, however, know very much about Cruz, Rubio or Walker.

Hillary Clinton leads the Democrats with an 89% favorable rating, compared to 71% for Vice-President Joe Biden. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has an 18% favorability rating, and former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has a rating of 16%. Few Democrats here have ever heard of the latter pair.

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