GOP’s “Electable” Presidential Candidates Aren’t Very Popular

In the Gallup survey noted at Lunch Buffet, it’s worth observing that the potential GOP presidential candidates most often cited as having an “electability” advantage over the rest of the field are not at present very popular among the general population. In Gallup’s table that ranks potential candidates by net favorability, Chris Christie comes in at ninth at +1 and Jeb Bush is tenth at -3. Only Rick Santorum fares worse.

You can make the argument, of course, that over time Christie’s Bridgegate problems could fade from memory (if more bad news doesn’t come out, of course) and voters will figure out Jeb’s not his older brother. But when “electability” is one of your main rationales for candidacy in a party that really, really doesn’t want to compromise ideology unless it’s absolutely necessary, you don’t want to be struggling to catch up with Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee in terms of your general election appeal.

Will this convince the kind of “Republican Establishment” types who talk to Beltway reporters to chill a bit in promoting Christie and Jebbie as frontrunners, or discourage the donors who apparently find them so appealing? Probably not any time soon. But at some point reality will set in unless these dudes make a move towards actual popularity.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.