PPP’s newest national Republican poll finds a clear leader in the race for the first time: Scott Walker is at 25% to 18% for Ben Carson, 17% for Jeb Bush, and 10% for Mike Huckabee. Rounding out the field of contenders are Chris Christie and Ted Cruz at 5%, Rand Paul at 4%, and Rick Perry and Marco Rubio at 3%. Walker has more than doubled his support since his 11% standing on our January national poll, and Carson has moved up 3 points. Bush, Huckabee, Paul, and Perry have largely stayed in place while Cruz has dropped 4 points and Christie has dropped 2 points.
Walker is climbing fast in the polling because of his appeal to the most conservative elements of the Republican electorate. Among ‘very conservative’ voters he leads with 37% to 19% for Carson, 12% for Bush, and 11% for Huckabee. Bush has a similarly large lead over Walker with moderates at 34/12…the problem for Bush though is that there are two times more GOP primary voters who identify as ‘very conservative’ than there are ones who identify as moderates. Bush is really struggling with conservative voters. Among ‘very conservative’ voters on this poll, just 37% rate Bush favorably to 43% with an unfavorable opinion. By comparison Carson is at 73/2, Walker at 68/3, and Cruz at 68/8 with those folks.
Walker has been ramping up his anti-gay rhetoric in recent days, but that’s still not good enough for Tony Perkins. Via press release:
In trips to Iowa and abroad, the Wisconsin politician has taken great pains to emphasize the pro-life and pro-marriage themes that have been sorely lacking from his vocabulary. The New York Times feels the shift, and in an article today, suggests that this pivot to win the base’s heart could just be a temporary dabble in social conservatism. The cracks in that strategy started to show on Saturday, when the Governor was asked whether he believed President Obama was a Christian. “I don’t know,” he replied. (His office later backtracked. “Of course, the Governor thinks the President is a Christian,” they tried to explain.)
When the reporter went on to say that Obama liked to reference his faith, Walker said, “I’ve actually never talked about it, or I haven’t read about it. I’ve never asked him that. You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How (could) I say if I know either of you are a Christian.” Then, the conversation took a surprising turn. Walker suggested the President’s faith didn’t matter. “To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press,” he fired back. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.”
Unfortunately for Walker, the American people absolutely care about faith — including the President’s. When they see his administration abandon hundreds of thousands of persecuted Christians, or bring his own brand of hostility to bear on Christians here at home, it matters. The reality is, people want their politicians to recognize God.
Walker, by the way, is a college dropout. The last president not to have at least a bachelor’s degree was Harry Truman, who was first elected 70 years ago.