In a just-released New Hampshire poll, Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, the one potential presidential candidate attractive to both the GOP Establishment and the Base, has benefited most from Romney’s exit from the race. The poll shows Walker is way ahead in first place with 21.2% support. Jeb Bush is in second place with 14.4%.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky’s third in the new survey, at 8.3%, with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson right behind him at 8.2%. The survey indicates New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 7%, 2008 Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 6.8%, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 5.4%.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is at 3.3% in the poll, with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who didn’t seek re-election after serving a record 14-years as governor, at 2.7%.
Two weeks ago in the first-in-the-nation primary state, Romney was in first place with 29%, Bush was in second with 11%, and Walker sat at just 8%.
There is little question that Jeb’s primary strategy is to consolidate the Establishment vote and hope the Base fractures among likely candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Ben Carson.
This poll shows that, at least for now, Walker is the dark horse spoiling that strategy. You don’t get any more Establishment than Mitt Romney but it is Walker benefitting (greatly) from his dropping out, while Jeb’s popularity barely increased.
With their not-ready-for-primetime comments about vaccinations, some or all (if Christie drops out) of the 15% support Paul and Christie enjoy could soon be up for grabs. At this point, it is not difficult to see Walker again being the beneficiary of both.
Caveats: This is an automated survey, so it is mainly useful in gauging movement compared to the previous automated survey. And yes, it is way early.
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