Think of the Republican presidential nomination fight as two separate contests within one: a conservative primary and an establishment primary. It's a good way to evaluate the state of the race.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie finally announced for president on Tuesday, but he is currently getting shellacked in the establishment primary by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. It's not even close. Of the fifteen candidates tracked in the RealClearPolitics polling average, Bush is in first with 15 percent of the vote and Christie is running ninth with just 3.8 percent.
The conservative primary is much less certain. After exceeding expectations at the Iowa Freedom Summit, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker emerged as the conservative front-runner. While he remains second in the RealClearPolitics average, he has recently tumbled back down to earth.
In the last two major national polls, Walker has been bunched in with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Arkansas Sen. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and real estate tycoon Donald Trump. He is in better shape in Iowa, but the New Hampshire polls tell a similar story, except Carson and Huckabee aren't in the mix near the top. And one can't count out Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, even though he's currently lagging behind.