Huckabee surges, Cruz, Ryan plummet in 2016 presidential poll

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Marco Rubio,Paul Ryan,Republican Party,2016 Elections,Rand Paul,Ted Cruz,Chris Christie,Mike Huckabee

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who suddenly entered the 2016 Republican presidential sweepstakes this month, has surged to the top of those most favored by GOP voters, costing support for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan in a new poll.

Of eight potential presidential candidates listed by YouGov/Economist in the most recent survey, Huckabee won the highest favorable rating from Republicans, at 65 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, was dead last with a favorable rating of 47 percent.

But it is Christie who still leads the race. Some 18 percent of Republican voters chose Christie as their pick to win the GOP nomination, followed by Huckabee and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 13 percent. It was the first poll that included Huckabee in the mix of presidential candidates.

Huckabee’s entry in the race seems to have cost Cruz and Ryan the most. In their last GOP presidential poll, released on October 26, Ryan was the top pick at 22 percent. He has dropped to 11 percent today. Cruz was at 14 percent and has seen his support cut in half to 7 percent.

“Some of that change may be the addition of Huckabee's name. The former governor and Fox News host recently indicated his possible interest in running for president again, and it appears from this poll he gets some support from his fellow Republicans,” said the poll, which also found slumping support for the just-approved budget deal written in part by Ryan.

Huckabee's coming out was during the recent “Pastors and Pews” event held in Little Rock, Arkansas, and hosted by evangelical organizer and political strategist David Lane. Huckabee plans to attend several other similar events with Lane.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at