This weekend I was reading a background piece on the nascent 2016 GOP field by our friend Andrew Malcolm which provides some leading indicators to watch for. (Worth a read for all of us.) He may wind up being more than a little prescient given the results of the latest CBS poll regarding how self identified Republicans feel about each of the hopefuls and if they would like to see them run. This one was taken after Mitt made it official that he was officially thinking about officially running, though he might still officially give it a pass. With the 2012 nominee (and 2008 runner up) back in the mix, GOP voters seem to have adjusted their stance a bit.
Hardest hit? Tough to say, though Christie is certainly a contender for that prize.
The big news may be the nation trend among self identified Republicans toward the establishmentarian wing. We follow the comments here closely enough and you guys are essentially the base of the conservative base. There is basically no appetite among Hot Air readers for the people at the top of that list, but the most commonly mentioned names in our community don’t do well nationally. (And that’s not general election prognostication… these are primary numbers.) There are only six candidates who aren’t underwater; Mitt, Jeb, Huckabee, Rubio, Walker and Carson. Out of that grouping, the only ones who seem to have significant support among the conservative base are Walker and, to a lesser degree, Carson. And among the above water crowd they are dead last, though they at least have room to grow.
That’s another big factor to be unpacked here; how many people could make it above water if they were thrown a life preserver? There are actually only two candidates with such high name recognition and so many people having made up their minds already that they are essentially locked in or locked out. Sarah Palin leads that field with basically 90% having made up their minds and not wanting her to run by a two to one margin. (“Locked out”) Mitt is in the opposite position. (“Locked in”) The rest still have room – in theory – for the undecideds to break their way and get into positive territory.
Among the candidates most frequently mentioned at least somewhat positively among our readers, the ones with the most daylight on the horizon in terms of the undecideds are (in order) Rubio, Walker, Carson and Cruz, but each of them has a long way to go and needs a huge break in their favor as the numbers solidify.
The first debate is in August. That’s pretty much a lifetime away in politics, and the turn of a single news cycle could throw all of this into a top hat. But for now it’s looking like the same old same old. Everything old is new yet again.