March 6, 2015

IN WITH A CHANCE:

Scott Walker's Electoral Record Is Just As Impressive As It Looks (HARRY ENTEN, 3/06/15, 538)

Of all the Republican governors running for re-election in 2014, Walker is the most conservative compared with the type of governor you'd expect was elected based on the 2012 presidential vote. The next closest is Paul LePage in Maine. Based on Walker's ideology and the ideology of the incumbents running in 2014, you'd expect him to have been a governor of a state that Romney won by about 13 percentage points (Montana, for example) instead of one he lost by about 7 percentage points.

Walker may not be more electable than an average Republican, but electability isn't the only thing that matters. As my colleague Nate Silver pointed out, Republican voters will be looking for a candidate who is both conservative and electable.

Will Walker's balance of the two be enough?

Past research indicates that presidential nominees tend to get more moderate for every term their party has been kept out of the White House. It may be that Republican primary voters will sacrifice ideology for electability given that a Republican hasn't won the presidency since 2004. If that's the case, Walker is probably in trouble. But if voters are willing to take a chance on someone very conservative who has an average electability record, Walker has a real chance.

Posted by at March 6, 2015 2:37 PM
  

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