RedState 2016 Presidential Primary Power Rankings: Week 6


Welcome back to the RedState 2016 Presidential Primary Power Rankings! To view all the previous installments of this series, click here. Lots of movement this week, most of which was unjustified and will result in certain members of the voting panel being fired! Without further ado, let’s get right to it!

New Polling Data this week

McClatchy/Marist (National): Bush 19, Walker 18, Huckabee 10, Carson 9, Paul 7, Christie 6, Rubio 5, Cruz 4, Perry 3, Santorum 2, Jindal 0, Kasich 0

Quinnipiac (National): Walker 18, Bush 16, Huckabee 8, Christie 8, Carson 7, Paul 6, Cruz 6, Rubio 5, Jindal 2, Santorum 2, Kasich 1, Perry 1

Gravis (South Carolina): Bush 19, Walker 17, Graham 12, Huckabee 10, Christie 8, Paul 6, Rubio 6, Santorum 2, Cruz 2, Perry 0, Carson 0

The First Tier

1. Scott Walker (Governor – Wisconsin) (Last week: 1) (Points: 108)



Rationale: Walker continues to occupy the catbird’s seat as the most likely consensus candidate to emerge from the field. Walker proved in two national polls that he is running essentially neck and neck with Jeb Bush, and stands to probably get most of the voters of the other most likely early candidates to drop out (notably Mike Huckabee, who increasingly looks like he will not run). Walker continues to receive blistering treatment from the media and from some conservatives who may prefer a harder-edged candidate, but for now nothing appears to be sticking or causing damage.

This week in the news:

2. [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] (Sen. – FL) (Last week: 3) (Points: 88)



Rationale: Beats me. I see nothing to suggest that Rubio has a better chance to win the nomination than Jeb Bush right now, at least based on objective data. However, there remains a feeling among the voting panel (apparently) that Jeb may have peaked and that this time, the primary electorate is so virulently anti-Establishment that he may not have much of a chance to achieve his planned coronation regardless of how much money he rakes in (and it will be quite a bit of money). Rubio does seem to fit the bill of what Republicans are looking for after a number of charismatic duds – to wit, someone who can make people believe in America again. This talent is quite frankly in short supply on both sides of the aisle and should not be discounted.

This week in the news:

3. Jeb Bush (Fmr Gov. – FL) (Last week: 2) (Points: 83)



Rationale: Bush continues to run a two-man race with Scott Walker in the early polling and presumably leads the money race going away. However, apart from his ideological clashes with the base, Bush lacks the fire or the inspirational rhetoric that the voting base is clamoring for. High profile capitulations by GOP leadership in Congress has fed anti-Establishment sentiment to an all-time high, a problem that Bush may ultimately not be able to shake.

This week in the news:

The Second Tier

4. [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] (Senator – Texas) (Last week: 6) (Points 64)



Rationale: It’s difficult at this point to describe the gulf that separates the first tier from the second tier, at least in terms of ultimate electoral chances. Although there are several qualified candidates below, there aren’t really any with obvious paths to the nomination; all of these would have to see a number of improbable dominoes fall to secure the nomination. No one exemplifies that problem more than [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ], perhaps. Cruz has benefitted from mostly keeping his head down lately, but voters still recall him as a fighter at a time when disgust with weak-kneed members of Congress is riding high. As the sting from the last shutdown has almost completely worn off, now voters are feeling the sting from Congress refusing to face a shutdown over DHS. Cruz stands the most to benefit from this interesting dynamic. Cruz also earned himself major points from conservative commentators for being the only Presidential candidate to openly condemn the Renewal Fuel Standard in Iowa.

This week in the news:

5. Bobby Jindal (Gov. – LA) (Last week: 5) (Points: 63)


Rationale: Jindal stayed in place this week – probably a tad too high, but showing the respect that his resume deserves, even if the voters have not noticed. Jindal is positive, intelligent, accomplished, and a doctrinaire conservative. Unfortunately, given his standing in the polls he may have no choice but to go negative against his fellow challengers in order to win, something for which he is not dispositionally well suited.

This week in the news:

6. Chris Christie (Gov. – NJ) (Last week: 4) (Points: 56)



Rationale: Christie’s time to run for the Presidency may have been 2012. He doesn’t seem to be gaining the traction his campaign would have been expected to given the way Christie charged out of the gate in terms of conservative popularity and the way he cruised to re-election in blue New Jersey. But it seems that some of the things Christie has done since then may have removed some of the shine with conservatives, perhaps permanently. Nonetheless, Christie continues to hang on to a solid 4th or 5th place showing in most polls and if Jeb’s candidacy continues to stagnate, Christie may be in the best position to assume the role of Establishment Candidate.

This week in the news:

The Third Tier

7. Rick Perry (Fmr. Gov – TX) (Last week: 8) (Points: 51)

Texas Governor Rick Perry


Rationale: Is a week in which a candidate registers 1% and 3% in two national polls considered a “good” polling week? For Rick Perry, who has all too often registered 0%, it kind of is. Perry’s ultimate goal at this point is to convince voters to essentially give him another shot. If he reaches a solid 5-8% in the national polls, he will have achieved this goal and his candidacy will have a credible claim on national attention, which is what Perry requires given that, even sans back medication, he has never been the most inspiring debater or stump speecher. What Perry needs is another chance to talk about Texas’ impressive record on jobs; it remains to be seen if he will get it.

This week in the news: 

8. [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] (Sen. – KY) (Last week: 7) (Points: 34)



Rationale: As a guy who was always a little out of step ideologically with much of the conservative base, [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] needed to run a nearly perfect campaign, and he has not. Paul continues to slide in both the national polling and, more importantly, in the early state polling. Paul cannot survive a scenario where he ends up polling less than 10% in Iowa, NH and SC, but that is where he finds himself now.

This week in the news:

9. Mike Huckabee (Fmr. Gov – AR) (Last week: 9) (Points: 22)

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.


Rationale: Given his standing in the polls, Mike Huckabee might deserve a higher place than this. However, Huckabee continues to give off the impression of someone who isn’t really running, and who is instead hoping to boost his profile as a paid lecturer, book writer, and television host. The panel simply doesn’t believe that Huckabee can run. They believe even less that he can win.

This week in the news:

10. John Kasich (Gov. – OH) (Last week: N/A) (Points: 12)




Rationale: For the first time in Power Rankings history, a new contender has broken the top 10 as Kasich edged out Ben Carson for the final spot. Kasich stands to receive as much flak from conservatives as Jeb does, but he is viewed as increasingly likely to run and a popular (in state) midwestern Governor who has demonstrated electoral prowess cannot be written off, and is frankly a more likely actual contender than Carson even given their respective standing in the polls.

This week in the news:

Others receiving votes: Ben Carson (8), Lindsay Graham (7), Mike Pence (5), Ken Snyder (2)