Politics In The News: Iowa Poll News
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
We're joined now, as we are most Mondays, by Cokie Roberts.
COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Renee.
MONTAGNE: Trump might have turned off some Latino conservatives, as we just heard, but he did get some good news from a poll of Iowa Republicans. It was released over the weekend. And according to the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg News survey, Trump is now topping the Republican field there.
ROBERTS: Indeed, he is with 23 percent of the vote, leading the runner-up, Ben Carson, by five points with all the other candidates getting only single-digit support. And more than 60 percent view Trump favorably. That's a complete turnaround from how he was considered in the last one of these polls. It's very interesting, Renee.
You're beginning to hear longtime Republicans talk seriously about the possibility that Trump could actually win this nomination. And, of course, that's when those Hispanic voters could become a major problem for the party. There's something else here. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon, is No. 2. There's a real anti-politician mood in the electorate.
Now, he's had radio and TV ads in Iowa talking about Washington being broken. His favorability rating is almost 80 percent. The person for whom this poll is most disappointing on the Republican side is Scott Walker, who had been leading the pack in Iowa, but he's pulling in less than half the support he did last May.
MONTAGNE: Well, on the Democratic side, there was some bad news in this poll for the front-runner because it puts Bernie Sanders within striking distance of Hillary Clinton.
ROBERTS: Yes, she's lost a third of her support since the last Iowa poll, and he's just seven points back. She's at 37 percent, putting her under 50 for the first time. The pollster argues that these results look a lot like 2008 when Clinton was running ahead and then, of course, ended up losing to Obama. But the Clinton forces say their campaign this time around is nothing like that one. They understand that this is a game of organization and delegates.
They insist they have a team in place to get people to the caucuses on a cold night in February. And at the DNC meeting last week, Clinton was rounding up commitments from the so-called superdelegates - the party officeholders who have votes at the convention. We'll see if that kind of traditional game works in a year when the voters seem to be ready to score some upsets. And we also don't know what happens when Hillary Clinton has to appear before congressional committees this fall.
MONTAGNE: Well, let's spend a minute or so talking about the current president. Obama is scheduled to go to Alaska today, where he's announced that he's changing the name of America's tallest mountain, and he is getting some flak for that.
ROBERTS: Yes, he said he will change the name of Mount McKinley to the Alaskan native name of Denali. It's already called that by a lot of Alaskans. And the two Republican senators there praised the move, with Lisa Murkowski saying it shows respect to the Athabascan people of Alaska. But the Ohioans are up in arms. That's McKinley's home state. And one Ohioan is John Boehner. They're mad both because they think it insults McKinley and because the president did not go to Congress - seems to be more and more of that going on.
MONTAGNE: Well, before I let you go, you were in your hometown of New Orleans over the weekend for the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Cokie, is there something in particular you'd like to say about that?
ROBERTS: Well, the city looks great. It's lively of course. The food and music are wonderful. Lots of young people and businesses are moving in. It has ended homelessness among veterans. More young African-American males are graduating from high school than the national average.
But, as NPR reporting told us over the last few weeks, some places are hardly back at all. So it's important to keep the effort going. All the great foundations and churches and businesses and government programs that have helped get New Orleans to this point can't go away now. So the commitment has to be strong so everyone can benefit from the effort to build back better.
MONTAGNE: Cokie, always a pleasure. That's Cokie Roberts.