President Ronald Reagan, a Republican icon, a symbol of the party's glory years in the 1980s and purveyor of the term Reagan Republican, is the person nearly all modern-day GOP candidates aspire to replicate.
Reagan rose to legacy status within his party for ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union and leading the United States into a record period of peacetime economic growth. In 1984 Americans re-elected Reagan to office in a 49-state landslide. His small government, strong military, pro-life, big-tent philosophy endeared him to party faithful who harken back to the Reagan years with affection.
that Stanford University political scientists have launched a website, Crowdpac.com, scoring political candidates on an ideological scale based on campaign contributions, voting records, and candidates' own statements. On a scale of one to 10, 10 being the most conservative, Reagan himself scored a 7.0.
According to the Crowdpac scale
, at a score of 6.9, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the most Reaganesque Republican eyeing the White House in 2016. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio trails Perry at 6.7, and retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, scores a 7.4.
The least conservative Republican looking to 2016 is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who scored a 2.5, followed by former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (3.0), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (4.2) and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (4.3).
The GOP's 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, landed smack in the middle at 5.0, just below Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (5.1) and just above former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (4.7).
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul came out as the most conservative Republican with a score of 10. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is nipping at Paul's conservative heels with a 9.7, followed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (7.8) and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (7.6).
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