Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has distinguished himself among a large field of potential 2016 presidential contenders for having achieved widespread support across a broad range of Republican voters, National Journal
The Journal noted a Quinnipiac poll out this week
that gave Walker a 25 percent lead among likely participants in the Iowa Republican caucus, twice as much as the second-place finisher, with consistent support across almost all of the party's religious, class and ideological factions.
The Journal noted that no Republican presidential candidate has demonstrated that level of broad appeal since George W. Bush in 2000.
"The real opportunity for the party is if someone like a Scott Walker can unite this populist wing with the more establishment wing. I think that's a stronger general election candidate than just going down the establishment side [for a nominee] with a lack of energy on the populist wing," John Weaver, chief strategist for John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, told the Journal.
"He has the opportunity to do so — but he doesn't have any definition yet."
The Journal pointed out that in the Quinnipiac poll, Walker leads with both evangelical voters, who make up a substantial voting bloc, as well as non-evangelical voters, by double digits, in sharp contrast with every other rival.
It is unclear whether Walker will be able to continue to appeal to a wide range of Republicans and also the broader public as the fight for the nomination gets underway, the Journal said.
Walker had a difficult few weeks after he refused to clearly embrace evolution, renounce Rudy Giuliani's comments about the president, or describe Obama as a Christian.
"He can't have more weeks like that where he cross-pressures the non-evangelical, secular wing of the party," Weaver told the Journal. "There is going to be tremendous pressure on him to define himself with that one wing in order to produce an Iowa victory."
According to the Journal, all of the other leading candidates in the Quinnipiac poll had a much narrower range of support. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's support drops the more conservative the voter is, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's support demonstrated a similar trend.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.