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National Journal: Bush, Paul, Rubio Seize Momentum as 2014 Ends

Image: National Journal: Bush, Paul, Rubio Seize Momentum as 2014 Ends
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, R-Fla., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images; Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Landov; and Michael Reynolds/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Monday, 22 Dec 2014 10:39 AM

With 2014 drawing to a close, the National Journal has analyzed the positions of a range of potential 2016 presidential candidates and determined whether they are better off or worse off than they were at the beginning of the year.

"2014 saw a flurry of activity from politicians jockeying for early position in the 2016 field at the Capitol, in statehouses, and on the midterm trail all across the country. Some emerged in a more fortunate position than others," the Journal said.

The six candidates the Journal believes are better off are all from the GOP field: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is actively considering a bid; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; and outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The five candidates the Journal says are worse off include former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

"Bush has secured the inside track on becoming the GOP's establishment candidate. His early move will allow him to set the tone at the outset of the party's nominating contest: Bush is expected to cut into the bases of several potential rivals, and he may force other candidates to alter their timetables," the Journal wrote.

The Journal said, however, that there are still some factors that could affect his candidacy in unknown ways, such as how his moderate positions on immigration and education will play out in a GOP primary.

"At the beginning of the year, Paul was still widely seen as a fringe candidate who wouldn't be able to compete in a modern-day Republican primary. Paul still has not totally shed that reputation, but he is now more widely accepted within the mainstream of the party than he was in January," the Journal said.

The Journal said Rubio's strength lies in his hawkish foreign policy positions, most recently on Cuba.

"Bush's announcement will certainly make it tougher for Rubio to attract the money he would need from donors in Florida.  But he already has a strong political team in place and the ability to be a top-tier candidate," the Journal said.

The Journal noted Scott Walker's recent landslide re-election as an indicator of his rising status, and said John Kasich has also had a boost from his massive re-election victory.

"Perry is in a better position than a year ago for one simple reason: He had nowhere to go but up. His disastrous 2012 campaign still haunts him, but he has gone to great lengths to improve his image ahead of an expected second bid for the White House in 2016."

Clinton is worse off than this time last year, the Journal said, because her favorability ratings are low and she had some bad publicity during the year surrounding her book tour.

"Overall, Clinton is in a slightly less favorable position than she was a year ago."

Christie has lost the most of all the candidates this year, the Journal said.

"No one had a worse start to the year than Christie. The George Washington Bridge scandal has permanently tarnished his image, and with federal indictments possibly around the corner, it might be just the beginning," the Journal wrote.

"Christie entered the year as a — if not the — top contender for the GOP nomination. He has some serious work to do if he wants to reclaim that status in 2015."

Meanwhile, while Cruz continues to have a strong sway among evangelicals, the Journal said, but he has suffered some setbacks in his status this year.

"Cruz may still be the tea party's favorite son, but the Texas senator's star power has diminished since the days of the 2013 government shutdown," the Journal said.

The Journal also said that Bobby Jindal has struggled to gain any traction this year and his approval rating in his own state has dropped. O'Malley's favorability has also dropped in his state, while his polling among Democrats nationally is in the low single digits, the Journal said.

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With 2014 drawing to a close, the National Journal has analyzed the positions of a range of potential 2016 presidential candidates and determined whether they are better off or worse off than they were at the beginning of the year.
Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton
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2014-39-22
Monday, 22 Dec 2014 10:39 AM
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