The Corner

Rubio’s Iowa Slide

While in Iowa covering Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, I kept hearing about another senator: Marco Rubio. Many Hawkeye State conservatives say they’re frustrated with him, due to his work on immigration reform.

“He has been seriously hobbled — we’re talking about long-term damage,” says Chuck Laudner, a veteran Iowa Republican who helped Rick Santorum win the 2012 caucuses. “Most conservatives feel burned, and he doesn’t have a lot of allies in the state defending him.”

Iowa’s talk-radio hosts have been particularly brutal. Steve Deace, an influential Christian conservative, has warned Rubio not to even show up, and has often taunted him during broadcasts. “Zip, zilch, nada — he’s got no support, he would be dead on arrival,” Deace tells me. “He may end up running for president, but he can’t win here.”

Rubio’s allies aren’t fretting:

“You can’t start writing the script for the caucuses this summer,” says David Kochel, a strategist for Mitt Romney’s Iowa campaign. “Rubio may be getting heat, but he’ll get a substantial amount of credit, too, for doing something to fix a broken system.”

Doug Gross, a former Iowa GOP gubernatorial nominee, agrees. “All of this criticism toward Rubio is coming from a few extremists who don’t represent the whole party,” he says. “Marco Rubio is a good man and principled conservative, and he’ll have strong support.”

The latest Public Policy Polling survey shows Rubio with 11 percent support among Iowa Republicans — a five-point drop since February. But, as PPP’s Tom Jensen observes, Rubio’s “favorability rating is basically unchanged,” and almost identical to Rick Santorum, who won the 2012 caucuses.

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion

of Marco Rubio?

Favorable……………………………………………….. 54%

Unfavorable ……………………………………………. 14%

Not sure …………………………………………………. 33%

Read my report here.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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