Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2016 President: Republican Outsiders Rising


Our most recent rating of Republican presidential contenders features a top tier of three notably different candidates: A Midwestern governor (Scott Walker) who is known best by the activists who will help decide the nomination; a leading national figure (Chris Christie) who has irked conservatives; and a firebrand senator (Rand Paul) with devoted supporters who would shake up the party’s platform and, perhaps, identity.

Chart 1: Updated Crystal Ball Republican presidential rankings

First Tier
CandidateKey AdvantagesKey DisadvantagesSince Last Update
Scott Walker
Governor, WI
•Midwest GOP gov. in Obama state
•Heroic conservative credentials
•Shown political durability
•Too bland? Next Pawlenty?
•Might not deliver home state
•Would highly motivate left/labor
Chris ChristieGovernor, NJ•Dynamic speaker
•Shown ability to pursue conservative agenda in Blue state
•Less is more — the future slogan of a svelte Chris Christie?
•Superstorm Sandy fallout
•Not conservative enough for base?
•Loose cannon
Rand Paul
Senator, KY
•Tea Party favorite
•Strong support from libertarian GOP wing
•National ID and fundraising network
•Too libertarian?
•Association with out-of-mainstream father
•Too dovish/eclectic for GOP tastes?
Second Tier
Marco Rubio
Senator, FL
•Dynamic speaker and politician
•From most electorally valuable swing state
•Future tough votes in Senate; has and will have federal record 
•Vetting issues regarding family 
•Could he really deliver more Hispanic votes?
Ted Cruz
Senator, TX
•Tea Party favorite
•Texas fundraising
•Conservative voting record
•Too extreme?
•Disliked on both sides of the Senate aisle
•Eligibility questions
Rick Santorum
Fmr. Senator, PA
•Strong support from social conservatives
•2nd place finisher in ‘12 – next in line?
•Bring around primary track
•Too conservative for general election?
•Lost last Senate race by 17%
•Foot-in-mouth troubles
Third Tier
Bobby Jindal
Governor, LA
•Brings diversity
•Southerner in Southern party
•Extensive state/fed. experience
•Controversial governorship
•Not nationally vetted
•Not a dynamic speaker
Paul Ryan
Representative, WI
•2012 VP candidate – next in line?
•General election experience
•Strong conservative record
•May not want to run
•Couldn’t help Romney carry WI
•Not a dynamic campaigner
Rick Perry
Governor, TX
•Strong conservative credentials
•Texas fundraising
•Extensive executive experience
•Ran very poor 2012 race 
•”Oops,” we forgot the rest
Wild Card?
John Kasich
Governor, OH
•Swing state
•Long conservative record
•Ohio’s unemployment below national average
•Supports Medicaid expansion
•Legislative resistance to budget
•Abrasive personality

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