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Plurality favors Walker for GOP nod

A narrow plurality—27 percent—of Rochester Business Journal Daily Report Snap Poll respondents favor Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker over other potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Among Republicans, one-third of respondents favored Walker.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the unsuccessful Republican standard-bearer in 2012, last week told supporters he would not make a third run for the White House. In recent polls Romney led a long list of possible contenders for the GOP presidential nod in 2016.

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today … may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee,” Romney told backers on a conference call.

While no big-name Republican has formally announced a candidacy, speculation about the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination has intensified since the party’s success at the polls in the midterm elections. Several Republicans, like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, have formed political action committees, and the list of possible candidates continues to grow.

Bush garnered 23 percent of the overall vote among Snap Poll respondents, and 21 percent among Republicans.

Rounding out the top three in this week’s reader poll was Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who garnered 8 percent among the overall group and Republicans.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and businessman and media personality Donald Trump ranked higher among Republicans.

In a similar Snap Poll conducted nearly two years before the 2012 presidential election, a plurality of respondents said Romney would be the strongest GOP candidate against President Barack Obama. Christie and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin were second and third, respectively.

Nearly 650 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted Feb. 2 and 3.

In your opinion, who would be the strongest Republican presidential candidate in 2016?
Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor: 27%
Jeb Bush, former Florida governor: 23%
Chris Christie, New Jersey governor: 8%
Marco Rubio, U.S. senator from Florida: 7%
Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon: 7%
Rand Paul, U.S. senator from Kentucky: 5%
George Pataki, former New York governor: 4%
Rick Perry, former Texas governor: 3%
Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor: 3%
Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor: 2%
Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor: 2%
Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO: 2%
Donald Trump, businessman and media personality: 2%
Ted Cruz, U.S. senator from Texas: 2%
Lindsey Graham, U.S. senator from South Carolina: 1%

What is your political affiliation?
Democrat: 17%
Republican: 44%
Non-affiliated: 33%
Other: 5%

For information on how the Snap Polls are conducted, click here.
COMMENTS:
Tough list, but certainly some variety in candidates. I am not really impressed with any of them. Will lead to some good theater during the primary and the election for president in 2016. Hopefully I will have a good third-party candidate to choose from.
—Keith Newcomer

Although I selected Rand Paul here, it is with supreme reluctance, since I can agree with him on little more than abortion and U.S. imperialism.
—Ken Maher

(Scott Walker is the) only possible candidate—at this time—who has shown that he governs the same way as he talks! A great accomplishment in this age.
—John L. Sackett Jr.

Your list omits my favorite, John Kasich, current governor of Ohio and former chair of the house budget committee when Bill Clinton was president. He is the closest to a “Rockefeller Republican” in the prospective field.
—John Calia, Vistage International

We need someone who can turn this country around.
—Harold Ley, Stoney Point Consultants

A number on the list are viable candidates, but clearly we don’t need another Bush!
—Hal Gaffin, Fairport

My favorite Republican nominee for president in 2016 is Marco Rubio. He should have been the vice presidential nominee in 2012 with Romney, where, with the Hispanic vote, Romney stood a better chance of winning. More than any of the candidates listed above, I would love to see a young, energetic, conservative woman to go face-to-face and toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic candidate. Unfortunately, Sarah Palin and Carly Fiorina don’t fill the bill, and Condoleezza Rice has taken herself out of the race.
—Clifford Jacobson M.D.

Give me the one who will reduce the size of government the most.
—Devin Michaels, Chili

Sadly, all have some baggage. However, if Walker were better known, at least “he has proven he can walk the talk!”
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a proven track record. He has pushed back against special interests and done what is best for his constituents. Wish we could draft him to be New York’s governor! He would be a great president.
—George Thomas, Ogden

Really—you are asking this question now? Give us a break, at least until we get even close to 2016. No one knows the answer to this question. Ask us about something pertinent.
—Faye Casey

For more comments, go to rbjdaily.com.  To participate in the weekly RBJ Snap Poll, sign up for the Daily Report at staging.rbj.net/dailyreport.

2/6/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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