Scott Walker has yet to announce his 2016 candidacy, though the end of June is looking likely as it follows the wrap-up of the Wisconsin legislative session. Currently, walker sits atop the five latest polls of Iowa caucus voters and his lead has only continued to solidify since earlier this year.
Report from Business Insider:
Scott Walker, a likely Republican presidential contender who is riding high in polls in the early voting state of Iowa, was literally the leader of the pack on Saturday at a gathering of 2016 White House hopefuls.
Walker, who built his reputation by taking on labor unions, has led the five most recent polls in Iowa, including the respected Des Moines Register poll. The Register showed him with a seven-percentage point lead over four tightly bunched rivals and found he was viewed favorably by two-thirds of likely Iowa caucus-goers.
“If the caucuses were today, he would win. Unless he really screws up, he should win,” said Doug Gross, state chairman for Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign and former chief of staff for longtime Governor Terry Branstad. [Emphasis added]
Iowa political veterans say Walker’s popularity stems from his Midwestern background and his appeal to all elements of the state’s Republican base, from pragmatic establishment voters looking for a winner to the social and religious conservatives who play an influential role in the state’s politics.
But things will get tougher for Walker as he moves into the daily grind of face-to-face campaigning in a state where voters are accustomed to being wooed.
Walker is sitting in a good position in Iowa. He’s obviously appealing to Republican voters, but he’ll need to keep that rolling when he officially declares his candidacy and begins the daily grind of campaigning. Furthermore, he’s got to balance Iowa with other interests including New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he’ll need to also be competitive. Ask Rick Santorum if it’s worth winning Iowa and then losing nearly everywhere else.
I emphasized the quote above as the headline since I tentatively agree with it. Walker plays very strong in the Midwest, and he hits several pegs of the conservative stool including national defense, social issues, and the economy. While Jeb Bush may be too establishment, and Ted Cruz may be too Tea Party, Walker has managed to find the middle ground up to this point and it shows in the polling.
Since mid-February of this year, Walker has had a decent lead in polling averages. It’s true that eighteen percent isn’t huge but in a field this big, the electorate is so split, he still remains seven points ahead of his closest rival. However, he’s currently facing questions about a tax increase he’s supporting to offset costs for a new sports arena. That may play into his rivals hands in coming months.