Scott Walker surging in New Hampshire, South Carolina polls

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at a training workshop for the New Hampshire state Republican Party in March.

JIM COLE -- Associated Press

Gov. Scott Walker's trips last month to the early primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina appear to be paying off — the likely presidential candidate is leading in polls released Wednesday in both states.

Walker has a nominal lead in South Carolina, polling 13.6 percent among 956 likely Republican voters, according to a Winthrop University poll. The margin of error was +/-3.2 percentage points.

That's the first South Carolina poll in which Walker has pulled ahead of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who received 12.7 percent support.

Walker has opened an even larger lead in New Hampshire, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday. He received 24 percent support among 358 likely Republican primary voters. The margin of error was +/-5.2 percentage points.

"Walker's strength lies in his ability to appeal to the different ideological factions within the Republican electorate — he leads with voters identifying themselves as moderates, 'somewhat conservative,' and 'very conservative' alike," PPP said in a press release.

The next closest contender was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who announced his candidacy prior to the polling, at 14 percent.

That result was consistent with another New Hampshire poll released last week showing Walker with 22.7 percent support. Bush came in second with 16.5 percent support. That poll was of 1,064 likely Republican voters and had a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points.

Walker returns to New Hampshire this weekend for a Republican Leadership Summit in the state that holds the first-in-the-nation primary. He plans to return to South Carolina on May 9 for the South Carolina Freedom Summit. Both events will allow voters to see Walker alongside other Republican contenders.

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Matthew DeFour covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.