Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bush Frontrunner and Paul Tied in Second Tier

Real Clear Politics lists twelve Republican candidates as presidential possibilities. The top six candidates hold two-thirds of the vote, and former Governor Jeb Bush, as of the first of April, is tied for first with Governor Scott Walker. Senator Rand Paul, who announced on Tuesday, is in a four-way tie for second place with nine percent.

Bush excels at raising funds, mostly using the old Bush finance machine, and his visit to Denver was no doubt lucrative. However, he does not appear to be particularly strong in early nominating states and loses to Hillary Clinton by seven points in the Real Clear Politics average match-up.  He’s not unique among the Republican field in losing to Clinton. No Republican on the list is closer than seven points with her, and Walker loses by eight.

Rand Paul’s launch started strong, hitting a lot of applause lines that appeal not only to rank and file Republicans, but some constituencies that are more independent of parties, such as Millennials and libertarians. But his argumentative temperament with reporters changed the storyline from his message to whether or not he is ready for prime time. Paul has had to change his pre-cast libertarian views after four years in the Senate and he struggles to explain the shifts or even what his positions are now. He may still receive a one- or two-point bump in his polling position, but it remains unclear if he can climb above his libertarian base in terms of fundraising and organization.

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