Three months into what allies once confidently described as a “shock and awe” drive to overcome his rivals and dominate the Republican presidential field, Jeb Bush’s early campaigning looks like the juggernaut that wasn’t.
He is grappling with the Republican Party’s prickly and demanding ideological blocs, particularly evangelical leaders and pro-Israel hawks. He is struggling to win over grass-roots activists in Iowa and New Hampshire, states he has visited only a handful of times. And Mr. Bush’s undisputed advantage — the millions of dollars streaming rapidly into his political organization — may not be enough to knock out other contenders.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is the leader in some national polls for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He’s also the least-known candidate in some surveys. There could be a relationship between those two factors.
Start with the new Fox News poll, done the last few days of March. Pollsters gave respondents, all registered voters, a list of seven Republican candidates — Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Walker, and Ben Carson. “Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each one,” the pollsters asked. And then they added, “If you’ve never heard of one, please just say so.”
Don’t expect Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to provoke the kind of media firestorm that has engulfed his neighbor to the south, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. That’s because Mr. Snyder, a fellow Republican, seems almost allergic to hot-button political debates.
And yet, that aversion hasn’t stopped the soft-spoken Michigan governor from carving out his own provocative niche inside the GOP as a Republican who often seems eager to stray from the party’s conservative orthodoxy.
The Michigan governor proudly supports controversial education standards known as Common Core. He has tried to avoid fights with organized labor. And he wants to see his state generate more electricity from renewable sources of energy.