In the world of online chatter, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who emerged triumphant from the Des Moines, Iowa, "cattle call" of 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls late last month, is running way ahead of the rest of the pack.
On Facebook, Walker has emerged as the clear front-runner, with his name coming up in Facebook conversations 1.2 million times in the week following his dynamic speech at the Jan. 24 event which, observers said, showed him to be the clear winner among the other candidates, Buzzfeed reports.
The rate of Walker chats increased 500 percent above his pre-speech Facebook action, indicating, Buzzfeed said, "The Scott Walker boom is real."
By comparison, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, trailed Walker at 1 million mentions that week, while Texas' former GOP governor, Rick Perry, polled just 599,000.
"If you're Jeb Bush, Paul, Ted Cruz or nearly all the other candidates, official and unofficial, Walker should have you worried," Jonah Goldberg of the American Enterprise Institute wrote in the Los Angeles Times.
Some 51 percent of those on Facebook viewed Walker positively post-speech, a decrease from the previous week, when 69 percent viewed Walker positively, but that earlier week he had only received 201,000 comments.
Front-runner and former Florida Gov. Bush had just 583,000 comments, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had 229,000 comments, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, got 554,000 comments.
Walker is "in a sweet spot," pollster J. Ann Selzer told the Des Moines Register.
"People who don't want an ultra-conservative think he's OK. People who don't want a moderate think he's OK."
speech, she said, gave the governor a "big bounce."
Walker also placed first in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll among Republican candidates, while Paul placed second, Business Week reported.
Among current Facebook "likes," Walker
trails only Cruz, posting 232,302 "likes" to Cruz's 1,121,525,
posted only 154,372 "likes" and Christie just 104,192
The Des Moines Register's Jennifer Jacobs commented that Walker is viewed as an "anti-establishment candidate without a lot of ties to Washington or Wall Street who would change the way things are done and challenge conventional thinking," the Times reports.
referring to Walker as the "man of the hour," noted, "The establishment-vs.-conservative divide is what makes Walker worth watching over the next year, because he has the ability to straddle both worlds."
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