RedState 2016 Presidential Primary Power Rankings: Week 4

Power Rankings

Welcome again to the RedState 2016 Presidential Primary Power Rankings! This week, we have fundamentally changed how the candidates were ordered. Instead of ranking them according to the tyrannical and completely arbitrary whims of your not very humble author, the candidates were ranked on a scale of 1-10 by a panel of current and former RedState contributors. These contributors were asked to rank the candidates solely on their expected chances of winning the 2016 nomination, and not based upon their own personal preference. A first place vote was counted as 10 points, second place as 9 points, and so on and so on. This method resulted in a significant reshuffling of the pack. Without further ado, here are the results:


New polling data from the last week:

  • UT/Texas Tribune (Texas): Cruz 20, Walker 19, Bush 9, Carson 9, Perry 8, Huckabee 5, Paul 4, Rubio 4, Christie 2, Jindal 1
  • Field (California): Walker 18, Bush 16, Paul 10, Carson 8, Rubio 7, Huckabee 5, Perry 4, Christie 3, Jindal 1
  • PPP* (South Carolina): Bush 19, Walker 18, Graham 13, Carson 13, Huckabee 12, Christie 7, Paul 5, Perry 3, Cruz 3, Rubio 0
  • CNN/ORC (National): Huckabee 17, Bush 12, Paul 11, Walker 11, Carson 9, Christie 7, Rubio 6, Cruz 3, Perry 2, Jindal 1
  • Gravis (Iowa): Walker 24, Bush 10, Paul 10, Huckabee 7, Christie 9, Rubio 7, Santorum 6, Carson 5, Cruz 4, Jindal 0, Perry 0

1. Scott Walker (Governor – Wisconsin) (Last week: 2) (Points: 116)

WalkerRationale: A polling-heavy week, almost all of which was good news for Walker. Whereas Bush showed some regional weaknesses, Walker showed commanding leads (over Bush) in places like Texas and California, which would seem to indicate that he has the broadest appeal of any candidate in the field right now. Of course, that Iowa poll also looms large, and if Walker runs away with Iowa, this race may be over before it has truly begun. Walker was also the major player in the news over the last week with everyone on the right dissecting his answers to various gotcha questions from the media. It remains to be seen how this will affect Walker’s standing in the polls, but thus far the main effect of them has been that Walker has raised a ton of money off of them.


This week in the news:

2. Jeb Bush (Fmr Governor – Florida) (Last week: 1) (Points: 111)


JebRationale: Bush continued last week what has been an essentially low-key campaign that seems designed around the belief that his GOP competitors will all eventually implode. The problem for Bush this week was that the media decided to play gotcha with his chief rival which served the probable purpose of galvanizing support around Walker. I am certain that Walker will eventually face a barrage from his Republican opponents and it remains to be seen how well Walker will respond, but for now, the media attacking Walker counts as a feature, not a bug, for Walker. “They can’t do that to our pledges! Only we can do that to our pledges!

This week in the news:


3. Chris Christie (Governor – New Jersey) (Last week: 3) (Points: 72)

ChristieRationale: As the huge points dropoff might indicate, the panel truly felt that this currently is a race between Walker and Bush, and then a bunch of guys with roughly equal chances of stealing the momentum should either of the top two falter. Christie barely gets the nod in this tier over Rubio, Jindal, Perry, and Cruz. Of those, he still has the highest national profile of any of the remaining contenders with the exception of Perry, much of whose profile is negative. Unlike Rubio he has executive experience (which can help in a campaign) and unlike Rubio he won’t have to make a difficult choice about a Senate seat. Nor does he have Jeb Bush blocking his path in Florida. For these reasons as much as any, Christie stands probably the best shot of moving up to the next tier over any of the remaining candidates.


This week in the news:

4. [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] (Senator – Florida) (Last week: 5) (Points: 69)

Official Portrait

Rationale: Rubio continues to struggle to crack single digits anywhere in the polls but the panel remains bullish that his natural charisma can eventually overcome this on the stump. Rubio’s biggest obstacle is Bush’s continued popularity in his own home state and dominance of the media narrative – not to mention the fact that Rubio has to make a decision whether to bow out or not quicker than his rivals, given that if he decides to run for Senate instead, he will have a long and difficult slog on his hands. That said, Rubio clearly outperformed his fellow contenders in the media gotcha game this week and showed why he has more upside than anyone left on the list.

This week in the news:

5. Bobby Jindal (Governor – Louisiana) (Last week: 8) (Points: 68)


Rationale: The voting panel is significantly more bullish on Jindal’s chances at winning than I am personally. Jindal continues to literally not register in many significant polls (see above) but he remains a favorite of people who are probably the most intensely plugged in to conservative political commentary, who tend to believe that he should be a star and will be a star if given the right stage. Jindal’s position this high in the polls reflects a clear belief in his “upside” potential that has not yet been realized.


This week in the news:

6. Rick Perry (Fmr Governor – Texas) (Last week: 10) (Points: 58)

Texas Governor Rick Perry

Rationale: The panel is going to have to explain the rationale for this one their own selves. Perry right now is getting clobbered in his own home state (Texas), failing to crack even single digits and running significantly behind Walker and Cruz. In terms of his standing and likelihood of winning right now, it does not look good. That having been said, Perry as always stands ready to raise a ton of money and promises to redeem himself this time around. If the right dominoes fall, Perry could be ready to step in and make some noise.

This week in the news:

7. [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] (Senator – Texas) (Last week: 7) (Points: 56)


Rationale: This marks the end of tier 2 for the panel which sees Cruz as being essentially interchangeable with the other pretenders who have a realistic shot of making noise. Cruz leads in Texas but continues to struggle to establish appeal on a broader base of support. Cruz figures, however, to make some noise in the debates and could well find himself in good position to win some Super Tuesday states, particularly if Walker falters.


This week in the news: 

8. Mike Huckabee (Fmr Governor – Arkansas) (Last week: 6) (Points: 34)

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Rationale: Respect is hard to come by, for Mike Huckabee. In the first national poll of the race taken in weeks, Huckabee finished first by 5 points, yet he was left completely off the list of several of the panel members (others had him as high as third). The explanation for Huckabee’s spot so low in these power rankings is the firm belief on the part of many panel members (including myself) that Huckabee remains a “high floor, low ceiling” candidate, as opposed to several others above him (Jindal, Rubio, Cruz) who are seen as “low floor, high ceiling.” It’s just difficult to see Huckabee managing to gather a coalition of voters that gets him over 20% in the actual voting. Presumably, once some of the also-rans drop out of the race, their support goes to someone other than Huckabee.

This week in the news:

9. [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] (Senator – Kentucky) (Last week: 4) (Points: 32)



Rationale: The panel is considerably less bullish on Rand Paul’s chances at the nomination than I have been previously, and perhaps with good reason. If the Gravis poll showing Rand Paul at 10% in Iowa is correct, then Paul is finished already. More than any of the other candidates, Paul has staked his chances on building a solid Iowa ground operation. If he finishes a distant third or fourth in the Iowa caucuses, then his campaign will be irrevocably doomed as a novelty item, much like his father’s.


This week in the news:

10. Ben Carson (Physicians) (Last week: 9) (Points: 12)


Rationale: Carson continues to fly (relatively) high in the polls, but the panel is not impressed. Carson has a lot to prove in terms of both his ability to run a national campaign, and also in terms of his ability to do the job if elected. But he has a compelling life story, the ability to move a crowd, and a group of dedicated followers.

Also receiving votes: John Kaisch, Lindsay Graham, Mitt Romney, Erick Erickson



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