(Editor’s Note: Despite the falling numbers, I wouldn’t count Walker out yet. Maybe not for the Number 1 position on the GOP ticket, but we may yet see him in the Number 2 position. I have always said that if Walker becomes vice president, whichever Republican sociopath becomes el presidente better hire a food taster. — Mark L. Taylor)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has notably shifted his strategy and rhetoric over the past few weeks.
It’s evident enough that a lot of political observers and even some of his donors are starting to notice he’s sounding a lot like the man he’s trying to catch at the top of Republican presidential primary polls — Donald Trump.
“Some of the things that he and other candidates are doing to try to associate themselves with positions being taken by Trump or other more ‘exciting’ candidates are hurting them, though,” said veteran Republican strategist Liz Mair, who briefly worked for Walker’s campaign. “Why vote for the guy perceived as the copycat or watered-down version of something as opposed to the real deal?”
And according to poll after poll lately, Walker is looking like a watered-down version of his former self — a Republican candidate thought to be among the three most likely challengers to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Walker has seen his national poll numbers tumble, as Trump’s — other candidates attracting similar types of voters, like retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — have continued to rise.
A new Public Policy Polling poll released on Tuesday showed Walker with 5% support nationwide. That’s a massive drop from the second-place slot Walker nabbed when 17% of Republicans nationwide said that they supported him in last month’s PPP poll.
A Monmouth University poll released on Thursday showed Walker plummeting to an eye-popping 3%, down 8% from the previous month.
But perhaps the most ominous batch of poll numbers came on Saturday, when a poll found the governor’s support cratering in a state that has long been seen as a linchpin to his White House path: Iowa.
In a May Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll, Walker led the field with 17% of the Republican vote. The same poll taken in August found that his support has been cut in half, with only 8% of likely Republican caucus-goers saying that they still support the governor.
That puts him in a distant third to Trump and Carson, who lead the field in the state with 23% and 18%, respectively. It’s a far cry from the months of February through mid-July, when he led every public poll of Iowa except one.
If there’s a bright side for Walker, it’s that the numbers still give him hope of turning things around. As his supporters and some pollsters will tell you, Walker isn’t getting noticeably less popular. He’s just not garnering the kind of excitement of anti-establishment Republican rivals like Trump and Carson.
His image remains popular. In Iowa, 71% of Republican voters view Walker favorably — a number that has actually gone up 5% since May, when the last Bloomberg Politics/DMR poll was conducted.
He’s also many voters’ second choice. In the PPP national poll, Walker clocked in at 10% when voters asked who would be their second choice for a nominee, trailing only Carson and Trump.
“That increase in visibility has translated into more favorable and unfavorable feelings. Only Ben Carson has a higher favorability score,” J Ann Selzer, who conducted the Bloomberg Politics/DMR poll, said in an email. “So, it’s easy to conclude that Walker is not turning voters off as much as they are turned on to other candidates.”