RedState 2016 Presidential Power Rankings: Week 3


Welcome to Week 3 of the RedState Presidential Power Rankings. To see previous versions of the Power Rankings, click here. As always, these rankings are not intended to indicate the personal preferences of this or any other RedState author, but are rather intended to reflect a prediction of who will likely win the 2016 Republican nomination. These predictions are based on polling data, media buzz, momentum, and of course the secret sauce formula. Without further ado, here are the rankings!



  • Christopher Newport University (Virginia) (1/30/15-2/10/15) – Bush 21, Walker 16, Huckabee 10, Christie 10, Carson 9, Paul 9, Rubio 6, Ryan 5, Cruz 3, Kasich 3, Jindal 2, Perry 1
  • NBC News/Marist (South Carolina) (February) – Lindsay Graham 17 (LOL), Bush 15, Walker 12, Huckabee 10, Carson 10, Paul 7, Christie 6, Rubio 4, Perry 4, Santorum 3, Cruz 1
  • NBC News/Marist (Iowa) (February) – Huckabee 17, Bush 16, Walker 15, Christie 9, Paul 7, Rubio 6, Carson 6, Santorum 5, Perry 4, Cruz 2
  • NBC News/Marist (New Hampshire) (February) – Bush 18, Walker 15, Paul 14, Christie 13, Huckabee 7, Carson 7, Cruz 6, Rubio 6, Perry 1, Santorum 1

1. Jeb Bush (Fmr Governor – Florida) (Last week: 2)


Rationale: The race hasn’t been polled on a national basis since late in January before the Walker boomlet but a number of state levels polls suggested early on that Walker had snatched the front runner status from Jeb. However, in the last week, all four state level polls taken (as indicated above) showed that Bush had reasserted his lead over Walker in all three early contests. It’s a statistically insignificant lead, for sure, but a bit part of the raison d’etre of the Bush candidacy is inevitability, and being ahead across all regions of the country, even by a small amount, could help the Bush candidacy gain momentum and roll to the nomination. It’s still too early to call Bush the favorite but the early dynamic of the race – which is to say, that Bush will win if the conservative vote does not consolidate early around a single challenger – seems to have reasserted itself, at least from a narrative standpoint.


This week in the news:

2. Scott Walker (Governor – Wisconsin) (Last week: 1)


Rationale: Walker did not have an especially bad week in spite of the hyperventilating from hacks in the press over his (completely justified) refusal to answer questions about evolution while he was on a trade mission in London. However, it seems that Walker’s upward trajectory to clear frontrunner has stalled somewhat and from the polling data he finds himself once again as the most likely consensus challenger to Bush instead of frontrunner. Huckabee moving into the lead in Iowa presents a particular challenge for Walker as Huckabee’s cornpone appeal will steal votes from Walker as long as he is in the race.

This week in the news:

3. Chris Christie (Governor – New Jersey) (Last week: 3)


Rationale: This was an especially strong polling week for Christie, who saw himself jump to a clear third place in the recent spate of polling, including in one state where he is making a strong play for a surprise finish (Iowa) and one Southern state (Virginia). Christie has benefited from a news cycle that saw him fly mostly under the radar. Christie has quietly been doing leg work with more personal visits to Iowa and New Hampshire than the other candidates including a well received trip to New Hampshire this last week.


This week in the news:

4. [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] (Senator – Kentucky) (Last week: 3)


Rationale: Paul, more than the other top tier candidates, is relying on strong finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to lend his campaign legitimacy as a national contender as opposed to a niche appeal like his fathers’. Thus, a string of disappointing poll results showing him falling to fourth or sixth in all these venues is especially damaging to the narrative that Paul has a realistic shot of taking a surprise path to the nomination. The last two or three weeks of news cycles have been brutal for Paul, whose propensity to say borderline insane things may have finally started to catch up to him with people who hoped he would be different both in style and substance from his father.

This week in the news:

5. [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] (Senator – Florida) (Last week: 7)


Official PortraitRationale: It’s frankly hard to know what to do this far down the list. This is clearly the beginning of the “third tier,” which is to say, people who would have to see a pretty significant number of dominoes fall in order to have a reasonable shot at the nomination. As we noted last week, Rubio’s most obvious path to the nomination is blocked by Jeb Bush’s strong polling in Florida, and he polls well behind Mike Huckabee in virtually every area of the country. And yet… and yet. Rubio’s stage and stump presence is not something that can be easily discounted, especially given how far ahead of the rest of the field he is in this area. At this point of his Senate run in 2010, he looked to have no chance against Crist. But once Rubio gets in front of those cameras… look out. Speaking of that Senate run, Rubio once again faces a difficult choice. In 2010, he had to decide whether the surprise entry of Crist into the Senatorial race should have made him jump into the governor’s race. Now, he must decide whether to run for President in earnest or face what will likely be another bitter Senate battle. You’d be a fool to bet a significant amount of money against Rubio in either scenario.

This week in the news:

6. Mike Huckabee (Fmr Governor – Arkansas) (Last week: 10)

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Rationale: I have a hard time knowing what to do with Mike Huckabee. I still remain convinced that his absolute ceiling of support is at 15% among the GOP electorate. However, he looks poised to possibly win Iowa again and Super Tuesday features a lot of states that are friendly Huckabee territory. More surprising is the fact that Huckabee’s level of support remains relatively persistent in places like New Hampshire, where a third place finish has to be seen as an unequivocal win. Sadly and unfortunately, crazier things have happened than Mike Huckabee winning the GOP nomination in 2016.


This week in the news:

7. [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] (Senator – Texas) (Last week: 5)


Rationale: Cruz rebounded back to earth with the most recent round of polling with especially disappointing numbers in the Southern states (South Carolina and Virginia) where he was not able to top 5 per cent. That said, Cruz on a debate stage still stands the possibility of stealing the show a la Newt in 2012. The most obvious avenue of attack against Cruz, that “he doesn’t play well with other Republicans in Congress” will likely be a feature rather than a bug by the time the campaign season begins in earnest.

This week in the news:



8. Bobby Jindal (Governor – Louisiana) (Last week: 6)


Rationale: Jindal continues to have news cycles that appeal to the conservative base that he needs to succeed, but continues to face persistent low polling numbers. Given his resume and high profile among the GOP electorate, Jindal’s profile should expect to rise higher if he actually runs and throws his hat in the ring. The real kicker will be how well – if at all – he is able to go on the offensive against those who are his natural rivals for votes, when he seems to be genuine friends with so many of them above him.


This week in the news:

9. Ben Carson (Physician) (Last week: 10)


Rationale: Maybe it’s time to face some facts about the Carson campaign – unlike most of the other candidates, Carson has made no bones about the fact that he is running. And he continues to poll around 3rd or 4th in most areas of the country. I think we have all been trained by the experiences of years past to expect an implosion from non-politicians when they enter the bright spotlight of a national campaign – but let’s imagine a world in which Carson does not. Imagine a world in which he deals with all issues as forcefully and concisely as he did the vaccine nontroversy and doesn’t stumble in the debates? What then? What then is that maybe – just maybe – he pulls out a surprise win or two and who knows what happens after that.

This week in the news:

10. Rick Perry (Fmr Governor – Texas) (Last week: 8)

Texas Governor Rick Perry

Rationale: Another week, another very bad set of polls for Perry who continues to struggle to break even 3%, even in the South. Perry is no doubt on the floor, but he stands a reasonable chance of getting back up and redeeming himself with the voters if he can put his disastrous 2012 campaign behind him.

Not on the list: Rick Santorum (No serious chance of winning at all), Mike Pence (probably not running), Sarah Palin (No chance and also not running), Lindsay Graham (LOL)



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