While the members of the press are busily congratulating themselves for having “gotcha-ed” Scott Walker on a variety of matters utterly unrelated to his ability to serve as commander-in-chief, the governor of Wisconsin is quietly consolidating the support of Republican voters ahead of 2016.
According to a new Quinnipiac University survey of the Hawkeye State, Walker leads a pack of 12 prospective Republican candidates ahead of the 2016 caucuses with a full 25 percent. This is the second poll to show nearly a quarter of Iowa’s Republican caucus-goers backing Walker. Last week, the GOP firm Gravis Marketing found Walker netting 24 percent support in Iowa with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Jeb Bush both coming in second with 10 percent.
This Quinnipiac survey also found Paul performing well with the support of 13 percent of Iowa’s likely Republican caucus-goers, but he is competing with a much broader field for second place in this survey. Following Paul, Dr. Ben Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee both secure the support of 11 percent of caucus-goers. With 10 percent, Bush narrowly escapes joining the rest of the prospective Republican presidential candidates in single-digit territory.
The Quinnipiac survey found Walker with an impressive favorability rating at 57 percent. Just 7 percent of those surveyed do not have a favorable opinion of the governor. Only Carson and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have favorability ratings that compare to Walker’s. 74 percent of self-described tea partiers and 58 percent of evangelicals in Iowa have a favorable opinion of Walker. When it comes to the governor’s likability, there is virtually no difference between those who identify as conservative or somewhat conservative; 66 and 61 percent respectively have a high opinion of Walker.
“Walker gets 26 percent of men and 22 percent of women,” Quinnipiac’s release read. “Only 8 percent of caucus participants are less likely to vote for Walker because he does not have a college degree, while 82 percent say that makes no difference in their vote.”
In short, this survey finds Walker is a force, and his potency as a candidate is growing. Several recent surveys of New Hampshire have shown that the unassuming Midwestern governor loses little of his appeal when his audience is a Northeastern one. In South Carolina, too, Walker’s nascent candidate is gaining steam, indicating that the governor can energize voters in the Republican Party’s geographic heartland as well.
Increasingly, Scott Walker’s influence is fraying nerves among those in the political commentary community, as though the galling and naked effort by the press to tar Walker as both bigoted and cowardly didn’t give that away. Some in the media who do not hide their liberal proclivities have determined to do away with nuance and are sounding the alarm bells. Take, for example, the New Yorker’s John Cassidy who recently called the sleepy-eyed, soft-spoken Wisconsinite “dangerous.”
“In a more just world, Walker’s indecent and craven antics would disqualify him from playing any further role in the Presidential race,” Cassidy wrote. This harsh verdict having been reached after Walker replied “I don’t know” to questions involving issues that have nothing to do whatsoever with governance. “But in the current political environment, his tactics, far from hurting him, may well bolster a candidacy that is already thriving.”
He is right about that, although Cassidy apparently hasn’t considered that excessive bouts of pique like this column are creating the very conditions he laments.
Cassidy went on to denounce Walker as an “odious politician whose ascension to the Presidency would be a disaster,” but he also warned that his unassuming origins and his status as self-made nouveau roturier will contrast sharply with Hillary Clinton’s inauthenticity and familiarity.
Several days ago, electoral politics analyst Brandon Finnigan observed that the nation’s progressive political establishment created the Scott Walker that today threatens to upend conventional political wisdom. “The attempt to boot Walker by Wisconsin progressives and labor activists accomplished a rare feat: absolute party unity,” Finnigan wrote. He observed that Walker’s three massive statewide victories created the crucible in which a formidable candidate was forged.
Now that Walker has emerged from his Badger State incubator fully capable of waging a competitive campaign against Hillary Clinton for the presidency, the press is going about consolidating the support of the rest of the country’s Republicans behind Walker. Hounding the governor with the aim of forcing him to denounce his fellow Republicans or seeking to compel him to genuflect at the altar of political civility by asking for his subjective thoughts on President Barack Obama’s level of devotion as a Christian have fostered a sense of sympathy for Walker. Despite the fact that he declined to answer either question, the press went about decoding his responses, dramatically pantomiming personal slight over the results of their decryption efforts, and insisting that Walker had disqualified himself from the presidency. This absurd display is a familiar one to Republicans. The GOP can see the target the media has painted on Walker’s back, and nothing so energizes Republicans like the prospect of rewarding one of their own for offending the delicate coastal sensibilities of the political press.
If the progressive left made Scott Walker into a presidential candidate, the media is busily elevating him into the top tier. If the progressive community is not careful, they will destroy Scott Walker all the way into the Oval Office.