2016 Presidential Election Preview: Grading The Top 11 Potential Republican Presidential Candidates


Here is a look at the best 11 candidates that the Republican Party has to offer. I have graded them based on their social views, fiscal views, potential grassroots momentum, potential establishment support, their total candidate grade, their likelihood of winning the primary, and their overall likelihood of winning the general election.

Please feel free to discuss/argue/debate my opinions in the comment section, I would love to dive deep on each of these candidates before I decide who to endorse, and I want to hear from you folks!

 

Mike Huckabee

Background: Former Arkansas Governor, Former Preacher, Former Television host

Social Issues: B+ – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment, moderate on Immigration

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports the Fair Tax, and fiscal reform

Grassroots Momentum: A – Fox News Republican base would get behind him, so would Evangelicals

Establishment Support: C – Backed out to let Mitt take the nomination, some will respect that

Total Candidate Grade: A- – Great candidate if he decides to run, needs to declare early and run hard

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 16%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 8%

 

Jeb Bush

Background: Former Florida Governor, George Walker Bush’s Brother, George HW Bush’s Son

Social Issues: B – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment. Moderate on Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: D – Willing to negotiate on taxes, careful entitlement reform, big spender

Grassroots Momentum: B – Big brand name, moderates in the party will rally behind him in primary

Establishment Support: A – GOP looking for best chance to win moderates will rally around Jeb

Total Candidate Grade: B+ – Swing State Gov + moderate on immigration/entitlement + big spender

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 15%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 7%

 

 

Rick Perry

Background: 4-Term Texas Governor

Social Issues: A – Strong on Abortion, Crime, Immigration, and the 2nd Amendment

Fiscal Issues: A – Called Social Security a Ponzi Scheme, supports the balanced budget amendment

Grassroots Momentum: B – Republicans like Texas Republicans, and he is right on the issues

Establishment Support: D – Needs to shed the “dumb” label from 2012, but can overcome that

Total Candidate Grade: B – Needs to convince people he is intelligent, but he has the whole package

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 14%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 6%

 

 

Marco Rubio

Background: Florida Senator

Social Issues: B – Strong on gun rights, and crime, moderate on Immigration and abortion.

Fiscal Issues: A – Strong on tax reform, entitlement reform, and good on budget issues

Grassroots Momentum: B – Latino candidate that people can believe in, could unite party

Establishment Support: B – Strong choice if Jeb is out and Dems are leaning towards Hillary

Total Candidate Grade: B- – Swing State Senator on the right side of every issue for mainstream America

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 11%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 6%

 

Scott Walker

Background: Wisconsin Governor

Social Issues: C – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, moderate on Crime, and weak on Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: B+ – Union Buster, strong on budget, light experience on federal fiscal issues

Grassroots Momentum: B – Anti-union crowd hero, survived Recall vote, strong candidate

Establishment Support: A – Fiscal Conservative with good track record, could gain momentum

Total Candidate Grade: C+ – Swing State Governor with guts/determination, don’t count him out

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 9%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 5%

 

Rand Paul

Background: Kentucky Senator, Former Doctor

Social Issues: B+ – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, moderate on Crime and Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: A – Strong on reducing spending, entitlement reform, and endorses the flat-tax

Grassroots Momentum: A – Daddy’s fans, plus he won a lot of support with his filibusters

Establishment Support: B – Reasonably conservative candidate with a brand name and moderate ideas

Total Candidate Grade: C+ – He would be #1 here if he was a governor with 4+ years of experience…

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 8%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 5%

 

Paul Ryan

Background: Wisconsin Representative

Social Issues: A – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, Crime, and Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: A – Advanced multiple balanced budgets to congress looking for 5+% bump in revenues

Grassroots Momentum: B – Lots of name recognition, newest budget talks could spark discussion

Establishment Support: B – Lots of establishment money spent on Romeny/Ryan, could continue

Total Candidate Grade: C- – Swing State Representative with budget chops, could leverage debt crisis

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 8%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 5%

 

John Kasich

Background: Ohio Governor, Former Representative

Social Issues: A- – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment, and Immigration

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports lower taxes, lower spending, and entitlement reform

Grassroots Momentum: B – Would build momentum if he can tell his balanced budget story

Establishment Support: D – Very little support in 2000, he would need to improve on fundraising

Total Candidate Grade: D – Swing State Governor with top-rate credentials, just needs to raise cash

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 6%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 3%

 

Chris Christie

Background: New Jersey Governor, former US Attorney, former Lobbyist

Social Issues: D – Flip-flopped on Abortion, semi-weak on immigration, very weak on 2nd amendment

Fiscal Issues: C – Good on tax reform, great on entitlement reform, weak on replacing taxes with fees

Grassroots Momentum: B – BridgeGate slowed down the momentum, but still has a lot of fans

Establishment Support: B – Well known, lots of wall street money behind him, good establishment choice

Total Candidate Grade: D- – Primary will be tough, lots of baggage to overcome, no huge upside

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 6%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 2%

 

Rick Santorum

Background: Former Pennsylvania Senator, Former Representative

Social Issues: A- – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment, and Immigration

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports lower taxes, lower spending, and entitlement reform

Grassroots Momentum: B – Some fans left from 2012, but his fan base will always be limited

Establishment Support: C – Fought Mitt to the end, wasting his money, people will not appreciate that

Total Candidate Grade: E – Strong conservative with little chance of winning the entire election

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 3%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 1%

 

Ted Cruz

Background: Texas Senator

Social Issues: A – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, Crime, and Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports single-rate tax, entitlement reform, and smaller government.

Grassroots Momentum: A – Hardcore Republicans love him, he will have a following

Establishment Support: D – Never met anyone who thinks he can actually win the nomination

Total Candidate Grade: F – Newby who has a reputation for being extreme, no name recognition

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 2%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 1%

 

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About Todd Hagopian (@ToddHagopian)

Todd Hagopian received his BA from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Political Science. After graduation, he worked as a Financial Advisor and a Bank Manager before returning to school. He attended Michigan State University, where he completed an MBA with a double-major in Finance and Marketing. Todd is now a Senior Product Development Manager for a Fortune 500 company. He frequently writes about business issues, social media strategy, and political issues that he finds important. Enjoy the blog!

Posted on April 2, 2014, in Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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