What To Watch In The GOP Jockeying For 2016

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from The Wall Street Journal,

If a recent CBS poll is accurate, Chris Christie and Rand Paul need to rehabilitate their images.

So what’s worth paying attention to in early polls? First, look at how many Republicans are undecided. The Jan. 25 USA Today/Suffolk University poll found 45% of Republicans and Republican leaners were undecided when asked an open-ended question who they wanted nominated.

A Jan. 12 CBS poll asked whether a prospective candidate should run or not or if respondents didn’t know enough to have an opinion. This poll’s results suggest that the GOP field consists of four groups.

The first group is comprised of well-known Republicans with positive ratings. The party’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, drew 59% saying he should run and 26% saying he should not, followed by Florida’s former Gov. Jeb Bush, with 50% saying he should run versus 27% saying he should not. Third was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with a 40%-29% split. Even then, 14% said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion about Mr. Romney, 22% said the same about Mr. Bush and 31% about Mr. Huckabee. Their challenge is to translate the relatively positive feelings about them into concrete support.

Members of the second group aren’t as well-known but have positive images. In the CBS survey 26% said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio should run, 19% said he shouldn’t and 54% said they don’t know. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s numbers were 22% yes, 12% no and 64% don’t know; Dr. Ben Carson’s numbers were 21%, 17% and 61%. All three must work to increase awareness of their backgrounds, records and views.

The third group consists of people whose images are underwater with Republicans. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was at 30% should run to 59% don’t, and 11% don’t know. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christiewas at 29% run, 44% don’t and 26% don’t know. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was at 27% to 34% with 38% don’t know. If this poll is accurate, these three must rehabilitate their images.

Finally there are Republicans whose poll numbers were upside down but about whom many or most voters don’t know enough to say. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (21% run, 32% don’t and 47% don’t know), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (21%, 25% and 53%), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (14%, 20% and 65%) and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (19%, 29% and 51%). These candidates must raise enough money to stay alive until the early contests and then beat expectations, or they will fade.

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