CEDAR RAPIDS — Fred Hubbell has an early lead over a field of gubernatorial hopefuls who are largely unknown, according to a poll of Iowa Democrats.

The poll, commissioned by IowaStartingLine.com, found Hubbell, a retired Des Moines businessman, had the support of 22 percent of likely Democratic primary voters.

The other candidates were polled as follows:

  • Freshman state Sen. Nate Boulton — 13 percent
  • Cathy Glasson — 6 percent
  • John Norris — 5 percent
  • Andy McGuire — 3 percent
  • Jon Neiderbach — 2 percent
  • Ross Wilburn — 1 percent.

While a poll almost seven months before the Democratic primary election is far from definitive, it is the first look at how the field is shaping up as Democrats seek to wrest control of the governor’s office from Republicans, who have held it since 2011.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face either Gov. Kim Reynolds or one of her GOP challengers — Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett and Boone City Council member Steven Ray.

In addition to leading the horse race “if the election were today” question, Hubbell has higher favorability ratings than his competitors.

Half the voters polled had a favorable opinion of Hubbell, 66, who ran Younkers retail stores and later the Equitable of Iowa life insurance company. He also led the Iowa Power Fund and was interim director of the state economic development department.

Boulton was the runner-up, with 31 percent approval rating to 5 percent unfavorable. The favorability-to-unfavorability ratings for the others was 21-10 for McGuire, the former party chairwoman; 19-2 for Norris, 13-5 for Glasson; and 9-8 for Neiderbach, according to the poll of 762 Democrats.

The poll was conducted by 20/20 Insight out of Atlanta and had a 3.6 percent margin of error.

By comparison, a Morning Consult released in October, found 45 percent of Iowans had a favorable opinion of Reynolds, while 27 percent disapproved. Three in 10 voters either didn’t know her or had no opinion of Reynolds, who was Gov. Terry Branstad’s lieutenant governor from 2011 until May of this year when he resigned.

Perhaps most telling about the race to this point is the high “no opinion” and “haven’t heard” numbers. “No opinion” ranged from 19 percent for Hubbell to 25 percent for Neiderbach.

“Haven’t heard” ranged from 24 percent for Hubbell to 64 percent for Glasson.