Rubio, Fiorina rise after Walker exits GOP race

Campaign 2016
by Kent Covington & Nick Eicher
Posted 9/23/15, 12:05 pm

The staff of The World and Everything in It has profiled 22 possible 2016 presidential candidates in its “White House Wednesday” series. Now they take a look at who’s ahead and who’s making moves as the primaries get closer.

Flash in the pan. Five months ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was No. 1 among the Republican field in an average of major polls. As recently as last month, he stood in second place among Republicans, nationally. Then came the TV debates, in which Walker may have been seen but was rarely heard. He disappeared on the crowded prime-time stage, and his support in the polls evaporated. Walker complained the second debate was more about setting up interpersonal conflict than it was about the issues. CNN billed the debate as a boxing match of sorts, calling it “Round Two,” and it often seemed like the moderators were trying to get the candidates to throw as many punches at each other as possible. But even if that were not the case, Walker seemed unable to connect with voters on an emotional level. He didn’t stand out on a stage crowded with political talent. His entire campaign lasted 10 weeks from the time he announced his candidacy to the end.

Up and coming. As Walker faded from the scene, another candidate has stolen the spotlight. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina surged out of the first two debates to land in the top tier. In the most recent national poll by CNN, Fiorina grabbed 15 percent of voters’ support, jumping into a virtual second-place tie with Ben CarsonDonald Trump still leads with 24 percent of GOP support. After the second debate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., joined Trump, Carson, and Fiorina as the only candidates to reach double digits. Rubio now stands in fourth place with 11 percent in the latest poll.

Still going strong. In the Democratic race, no news has been good news for Hillary Clinton. That ended today with new revelations in the email scandal that has plagued her campaign from the beginning. But after a two-month tailspin in the polls, Clinton appears to be leveling off. The CNN poll gave her 42 percent, an 18-point edge over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Clinton also enjoys a 20-point lead over Vice President Joe Biden, who might or might not be running. In an interview this week with America Media, Biden said he’s still not ready to commit to a campaign. Meanwhile, the Clinton team is working to project a softer image. Earlier this month, she tried out a few hip-hop dance moves on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. But she’s not running an issue-free campaign. She has vowed to defend Obamacare, and Tuesday she took a public stance against the Keystone XL Pipeline expansion.

Listen to “White House Wednesday” on The World and Everything in It.

Nick Eicher

Nick lives in St. Louis, loves the Blues (as in the NHL), is executive producer of WORLD Radio, and co-hosts WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickEicher.

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