Scott Walker's numbers see some Iowa inflation

Yesterday I made the case that one of the biggest benefactors of Mitt’s exit stage right might prove to be Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. It’s going to take a while before new data begins to congeal in the post-Mitt political world, but the numbers coming out of Iowa even before Romney took a pass were starting to look good for Walker.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is surging, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is an also-ran and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is dominating in a new poll of Iowans likely to vote in the nation’s first presidential nominating contest.

The Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, taken Monday through Thursday, shows Walker leading a wide-open Republican race with 15 percent, up from just 4 percent in the same poll in October. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was at 14 percent and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, stood at 10 percent.

Bush trailed with 8 percent and increasingly is viewed negatively by likely Republican caucus-goers. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in even worse shape, with support from just 4 percent. More troubling for Christie: He’s viewed unfavorably by 54 percent, among the highest negative ratings in the potential field. At 9 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson pulls more support than either Bush or Christie.

Either the majority of you folks in the Hot Air commentariat live in Iowa or you are prescient in a way that the mainstream media would love to be able to exploit. The conventional wisdom was that Jeb Bush was the belle of the ball right out of the gate if he chose to run, and that Mitt getting out of the way would just about cement his position. But wherever conservatives gather, the buzz against Jeb has been far more of the story than any surge of grassroots support. Whether it’s amnesty, common core or other bedrock issues, there has been more than a little skepticism around here for the inevitability of the next Bush presidency.

On the other hand, Scott Walker was an early favorite here, along with Ted Cruz. Iowa seems to be catching on, but that’s just one state. One question in closing may serve as a rather counterintuitive contrast between 2012 and 2016. The last cycle was a clear battle of the establishment vs the upstarts. The establishment half of that equation was pretty much Romney for the entire distance around the track if we’re to be honest. By way of contrast, the race to be “the other guy” (or gal) jumped around between a half dozen or more Tea Party favorites. What if this comes down to a final stretch run between Walker and Cruz? Is Walker then “the establishment guy” by default? Or do you just begin throwing a party and be glad for whichever one winds up on top?