Jeb Bush Tops Latest Poll Of Republican 2016 Candidates
Jeb Bush is leading the latest poll of the 2016 Republican race and Ted Cruz has surged since he entered the race, but the race is just beginning.
The latest national poll of announced and expected Republican Presidential candidates shows that Texas Senator Ted Cruz has unexpectedly surged ahead in the wake of his announcement, but former Florida Governor Jeb Bush remains in a firm lead:
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush now leads the field of Republican candidates for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, but former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton enjoys a decided advantage over Bush and other potential GOP rivals in hypothetical general election matchups, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
At this early stage in the 2016 competition, the prospective candidates suffer from image weaknesses, but the Republicans have a more acute problem. Most Republicans are not well known, but at this point, not a single one of six Republicans included in the survey has a favorability rating that is net positive.
Bush — by far the best known among those running for the GOP nomination — is viewed favorably by just 33 percent of the public, while 53 percent say they view him unfavorably. Only Clinton among all those included in the poll has a net positive rating, but by the slender margin of three percentage points (49-46 percent). Her favorability rating has dropped nine points in the past year and 18 points since she left the State Department in 2013.
In the contest for the Republican nomination, Bush tops the field with 20 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents saying they would support him if their primary or caucus were held today. He is followed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 13 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 12 percent. Five other Republicans receive at least 6 percent support, with an additional six candidates at either 2 or 1 percent. Bush, Cruz and Walker are the only three to register noticeable gains since the last Post-ABC survey on the GOP race in December.
Bush, who faces potential resistance from some Republicans for his stands on immigration and Common Core school standards, enjoys his strongest support among moderate and liberal Republicans and among those who say they are “somewhat conservative.”
Bush has been on an aggressive pace to stockpile funds for his candidacy and appears to have benefited from decisions by 2012 nominee Mitt Romney and 2012 vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) to stay out of the race. His 20 percent support level, hardly an indication of dominance, underscores potential challenges ahead. However, one in three Republicans say they think Bush will be their party’s nominee.
The survey was taken in the days after Cruz became the first Republican to formally announce for president. The former Texas solicitor general, running unabashedly as the true conservative in the race, enjoys his greatest support among the most conservative Republicans. Walker, who began rising after a well-received speech in Iowa in January, enjoys about equal support among those who say they are somewhat conservative and those who say they are very conservative.
Bush’s and Cruz’s support are mostly evenly distributed among demographic groups. Walker runs far better among men than women and far better among Republicans with college degrees than those without, although he did not graduate from college. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who hopes to redraw the GOP coalition, runs three times better among those younger than 50 than those who are older.Nearly all the Republican candidates are viewed favorably within their own party. Bush, Walker, Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who will formally launch his campaign April 13, are viewed positively by margins of about 26 points among self-identified Republicans. Paul, who will announce Tuesday, has a 13-point positive-to-negative rating in his party.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, once regarded as a top-tier prospect for the nomination, has a major image problem within his party as well as with the public at large. He is viewed favorably by 38 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and unfavorably by 41 percent. Among all Americans, 51 percent have an unfavorable impression of Christie, topped only by Bush’s 53 percent.
As is always the case with early polling like this, these numbers should be viewed at least somewhat skeptically both because were are still some ten months away from the first primaries of the 2016 season and because, as with all polling, these are merely snapshots in time of the current state of the race. Notwithstanding that, though, there are a few interesting things that we can take away from this poll and what it tells us about how the race stands at this early point in time. For one thing, it’s worth noting that Bush’s numbers are higher in this poll than they have been in any polling since the beginning of the year at the earliest. Generally, though he has led the field at least somewhat, Bush’s numbers have stayed between 16% and 18%. The fact that he’s now hitting numbers above 20% tends to cast doubts on the arguments that have been made by some pundits, and by many conservatives inside the Republican Party, that Bush was somehow “too moderate” for the GOP or that his position on issues such as immigration reform and Common Core education standards were unacceptable to the base. Obviously, the real test of that hypothesis will be once the campaign begins in earnest this summer and in the wake of the debates that start in the fall. For the moment at least, though, there really doesn’t seem to be much evidence for the idea that Jeb Bush is per se unacceptable to Republican primary voters any more than Mitt Romney was.
One part of the poll that is receiving a lot of attention, of course, is what impact Ted Cruz’s announcement has had on his poll numbers. So far, at least it seems to be having a minor impact at most. Cruz comes in at 12% in this poll, which isn’t very much higher than the 8% he hit in the ABC/Washington Post poll conducted in January and is somewhat less than the 16% that Cruz got in the Public Policy Polling poll that was released last week. Presently, that puts his RealClearPolitics average at 8.6%, placing him just outside the “top tier” candidates in double digits, Bush, Scott Walker, and Rand Paul. This is obviously better than the 4.7% that Cruz was at in the average when he announced his candidacy, but as Jonathan Bernstein argues, we really ought to ignore this surge:
This week, Cruz is rising rapidly in the Republican test ballots. TheWashington Post has him second to Bush. PPP also has him in second place, but trailing Walker.
That tells you exactly one thing: Cruz received a burst of publicity by being the first to formally announce his candidacy. At this point, with more than a dozen candidates and almost a year to go before even the first primary vote, just getting air time, especially in the partisan media, is enough to get a bump.
Someone else will get some publicity, and another polling surge will commence. It won’t have any predictive value, either.
Most Republican voters are inclined to basically like all of the party’s candidates; almost anyone interested enough to vote in primary elections would vote for any of them in a general election, even the most obscure ones. And there’s very little to differentiate the candidates — and most of them will be long gone before most Republicans get a chance to vote.
At this point, polls basically reflect name recognition and recall, and candidates who have been in the news do better.
Bernstein is exactly right. Cruz is getting a bump in the polls largely because of his announcement. The same thing will happen when Rand Paul, Marco, Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, and whoever else ends up running gets into the race over the next several months. The question will be whether these candidates are able to maintain that level of support after the post-announcement “bump” has faded and how the overall race will be impacted once the campaign begins in earnest and candidates hit the road in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and elsewhere. Those are are questions that we won’t be able to answer for several more months at least.
Largely immaterial, due to the fact that how these people are perceived now is highly unlikely to be how they are perceived once the Republican primary gauntlet has forced them to drive to the right / far-right in order to remain competitive for the nomination. Regardless of how they are viewed now, the clown car is looming on the horizon, and it will have a drastic effect on those numbers – most especially among independents.
I have more or less come to the conclusion that polling with regard to Republican presidential candidates is useless prior to the nominee having been selected.
It is early, but I think it is reasonable to say that the smart money is on Jeb winning the GOP nomination, both for historical reasons (the GOP tendency to nominate bland over crazy) and because he is more or less uncontested for the establishment vote, while most of the other candidates are going to be fighting it out over evangelicals and the tea party.
If that turns out to be the case, I imagine that this will be a particularly inspiring election. Two candidates who are generally disliked by the public, from political dynasties that people are tired of listening to, slugging it out for the presidency to see who decide exactly how we want to break the economy and the education system, and which muslim country we are going to invade (or maybe just bomb) next.
It sure is an exciting time for our beloved republic. Maybe if we’re really lucky, they’ll spice things up this time by getting official corporate sponsors or doing product endorsements . . .
What do you mean, “early polling”? From what I’ve read on OTB, this race has been going for years. We’re finally in the last 19 months of it.
Since Citizens United made it obvious that we can’t do anything about the flood of money until a few Justices die, I’ve wondered if we couldn’t make them wear shoulder patches with the logos of their five largest donor corporations anytime they’re on camera. Maybe ball caps too for more room for patches.
@Pinky: In fairness, I think Doug has been pretty consistent in making the point that it’s early. But you can’t expect him to ignore the horse race that’s obviously in progress.
This is based on nothing but name ID. Let the field winnow to Bush and a main conservative challenger. In 2008 and 2012 conservatives were fractured between many candidates.
If we can coalesce around one candidate the RINO establishment won’t stand a chance. People who vote in GOP primaries are conservatives. Jeb will never top 40%. We just need to ensure that the 60% conservative vote is not spread among many candidates.
When the debates start the conservatives will bash Jeb over amnesty and Communist (er I mean Common) Core and his negatives will soar.
It is absurdly early in the cycle as every commentator has said but in the cited poll, this seemed important:
Q: (Among Bush supporters) Would you say you are very enthusiast about supporting Bush, somewhat enthusiastic, not so enthusiastic or not enthusiastic at all?
–very enthusiastic — 12%
–somewhat enthusiastic — 56%
–not so enthusiastic — 17%
–not enthusiastic at all — 15%
Q: (Among Clinton supporters) Would you say you are very enthusiastic about supporting Clinton, somewhat enthusiastic, not so enthusiastic or not enthusiastic at all?
–very enthusiastic — 42%
–somewhat enthusiastic — 42%
–not so enthusiastic — 12%
–not enthusiastic at all — 5%
Also of interest even this early is the CBS news polling using the question ‘would you consider voting for….” Gov Bush’s YES numbers are the highest of the crowd but his NO numbers are exceeded only by Gov Christie’s and Sen Graham’s.
It’s going to be an interesting time. As in ‘may you be preserved from interesting times’.
No. The margin of error is 5.5 points for the 444 Republicans and GOP-leaning independents in the poll, so the poll really can’t be used as support for that statement.
Two wonderful bits of data if you’re a Democrat:
1) Hillary Clinton, a woman with 100% name recognition, very familiar to voters, is sitting on 55% in face-offs with Republicans. That is one hell of a big obstacle for Republicans. All she has to do to win is not lose 10% of her current support levels. And this is after weeks of “mailgate” and with Hillary invisible.
2) The GOP is shaping up as an establishment vs. crazies contest. About half the party wants establishment, but with no enthusiasm, while a solid third wants a crazy and want them enthusiastically. This ensures popcorn fun for Democrats watching Cruz rip into Bush every two weeks.
Enthusiasm is often overrated, but you can’t help but notice that Hillary will have a rock-solid core of supporters who will go all-in for her, while Bush has nothing but money. Bush will have no choice but to go negative, to run on Hillary-hatred, which is really not a great place to be when the candidate is as dull as Mr. Bush, and when the opponent, Ms. Clinton has a base that consists of half the electorate. Good luck attacking Hillary without pissing off women.
I especially love the crazy right salivating over the prospect of tearing Jeb Bush apart. Great way to score an own goal, guys….the only way you can think that Cruz will win the majority of the general vote is if you totally ignore reality. The only chance the Republican party has is with an accused “RINO.”
I wish Doug would come back to explain why the fact that 89% of polled Republicans prefer a candidate other than Bush “tends to cast doubts on the arguments that have been made by some pundits, and by many conservatives inside the Republican Party, that Bush was somehow “too moderate” for the GOP. ”
I mean sure, it’s better than 84% wanting someone else… but it’s not exactly a winning hand.
“April 2, 2015 — Bush slips in Florida, stalls in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac University swing state poll finds; Emails or not, Dems love Clinton”
And in other news:
Yeah, that worked out really well in 1996, 2008 and 2012.
We nominated the “most electable” candidate then and got hammered. In 2000 and 2004 we nominated a conservative and won. I will be the first to readily concede that GWB did not govern as a conservative (face it he loved big government) but he did run as one and won twice.
We are through nominating “the most electable” candidate. We tried that in 2008 and 2012. No More!
The way we will win is by presenting the electorate with a legitimate choice. We need have a clear distinction. Although I am a Walker supporter, Cruz is absolutely correct that we need to nominate a legitimate conservative if we have any chance of winning.
Jeb Bush is about as electable as Dole, McCain, and Romney. GOP primary voters are not going to fall for the trap again. Bush is not a conservative and that will be established over the next twelve months.
He is going to be eviscerated in the debates over amnesty and common core. He’s even back tracked on religious liberty. After initially supporting it he is now trying to capitulate to the Gay-stapo.
Guess what, the Gay-stapo doesn’t vote in GOP primaries. Conservatives who don’t capitulate on the issues of religious liberty are going to have a huge advantage over milquetoast moderates like Jeb – no matter how much cash he can raise from Wall St. and K St.
Tell me who wins Ohio in 2016, and I’ll tell you who wins the election…But, off-hand I would say that Clinton and Bush probably represent the strongest leadership qualities among these possible candidates, and voters seem to know that, so these two probably represent your 2016 line-up. And Bush seems to best fit into that moderate-conservative mainstream ideology that McCain and Romney did, where he seems to be the most likely GOP nominee based on that history. Biden seems like yet another of a long line of Vice Presidents unlikely to be elected. – If Hillary Clinton can overcome voter disappointment with the Obama years and avoid the Clinton penchant for walking into controversy and scandals, then she is the more likely winner here…
@James P: oh, am absolutely sure that Someone like Cruz would win. Provided those icky blacks didn’t vote. Or those horrible moderates. Or (shudder) women. Or young ‘uns. Or Asians. Or Hispanics. Or Jews. Or gays.
Yes, indeed. Why, if you looked at the non-RINO Christian Republican white male population, it’s very obvious that someone like Cruz will win!
(Dude, I suggest you watch a film to see what will happened to your cherished candidate in the general election. A very short film, full of political insight. It’s called Bambi meets Godzilla.)
@James P: And your crew of @ssholes never had that thought in 2008 or 2012? You were that stupid only seven yrs ago? You were that stupid only 3 years ago? And now you’re smart? HA HA HA HA
The reason that smart Repubs run moderates in national elections is that they know that j@ck@sses like you would produce results like Sen Goldwater did.
You haven’t figured anything out have you?
What good did that PhD for the London School do you, @sshole?
You know, I almost hope that someone like Cruz does get the nomination – if only to put to bed this delusion among the far right that they’d win if only …
Imaginary PhDs aren’t usually of much use – or value.
@James P: “We nominated the “most electable” candidate then and got hammered. In 2000 and 2004 we nominated a conservative and won. I will be the first to readily concede that GWB did not govern as a conservative (face it he loved big government) but he did run as one and won twice.”
So you’re saying that you and your fellow “conservatives” are so stupid you’ll vote for a president who “runs as a conservative” even though you’ve had four years to see he’s really not?
Of course, Bush is only magically not a conservative now because every one of his then-conservative actions turned out to be total failures…
@HarvardLaw92: If Cruz gets the nomination and loses the general, it will be proof that he was never really a conservative.
@CET: “It is early, but I think it is reasonable to say that the smart money is on Jeb winning the GOP nomination, both for historical reasons (the GOP tendency to nominate bland over crazy) and because he is more or less uncontested for the establishment vote, while most of the other candidates are going to be fighting it out over evangelicals and the tea party.”
It’s not the smart money, it’s the big money, or rather, the vast money.
Thank for finally acknowledging how Democrats depend on the automatic voters. That Ms. Clinton is visionless and lacks any clear leadership abilities should be plan. However, in a country where almost 50% of the voters are automatic Democratic Party voters and where the Republicans cannot identify and cultivate real political talent, it makes sense that Ms. Clinton will win in a rout.
Maybe we should all be spending more time thinking about what a Clinton II administration will look like rather than pouring over irrelevant polling numbers.
So Jeb is the current “Designated Driver” for the Repubican Clown Car.
Sure but lets face it sometime the “most electable” candidate doesn’t equal a “particularly electable candidate”.
Ms. Clinton’s female supporters don’t have any issues? They don’t care about child care, or education, or reproductive rights, or equal pay? They just automatically vote a certain way because they have vaginas? Just like black people vote a certain way because they’re black? And Latinos vote a certain way because they’re Latino? And ditto gays. And ditto Asians. And ditto the young.
Only straight white males have agency? Only straight white males actually think about issues?
Here’s how fvcking dumb right-wingers are: they don’t get that they are now too extreme for NASCAR and Wal-Mart.
Too far out there for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart.
And yet they think if they could just manage to run someone even more extreme. . . victory!
Perfectly rational. In no way cretinous or insane. It all makes perfect sense.
@HarvardLaw92: I, also, would like to see a True Conservative (TM) with the nomination. Cruz would be perfect, because I think he would be most likely to stick to his guns rather than waffle/backtrack on issues like gay marriage, climate change, foreign policy in general, etc.
In other words, I’d love to see how the actual unfiltered Republican platform would perform in modern America. It wouldn’t be pretty for Cruz, I can tell you that. If you thought Romney was whomped, you have no idea.
Clinton vs. Cruz, I figure we’d add Missouri, North Carolina, maybe Georgia, Indiana and Alaska, in addition to the already large electoral majority we have. Montana, even?
I’d actually love to hear what people think Jeb Bush could take away from the Democrats that we won in 2012. Florida is the only state really in play, and 332 minus 29 still equals 303, which remains a larger number than 270. We could actually afford to throw in Ohio, New Hampshire and Colorado.
No wonder Jeb seems so disinterested and emotionally absent – he’s smart enough to do the math. He has money but no base. Hillary will have money and a big, solid base. And Hillary has the map.
@michael reynolds: One can only hope her ‘coattails’ are as impressive as her likelihood of victory. And try not to count chickens when only eggs are in the nest.
I worry most about her health. I think at this point Hillary is basically scandal-proof thanks to the GOP repeatedly going off half-cocked. She’s a lousy campaigner, but Jeb Bush is no better. Scott Walker is worse. Hillary may not be warm and fuzzy but Walker is a douche and comes off as one.
The one guy I worry about is Kasich. He could bring Ohio. But even then, they’ve got a mountain to climb and we have a molehill.
You could say that those issues are important to the groups you described if the automatic Democratic Party voters ever held elected Democrats responsible for their failures to deliver on the issues you described. However, do you think that one Democrat is going to be voted out of office because of the cheating Scandal in Atlanta? Do you think that a single Democrat is going to be voted out of office for supporting comprehensive immigration and thus, increasing the downward pressure of wages? Do you think a single Democrat is going to voted out of office due to poor quality government subsidized children care that has long waiting lists?
The issue for the future is what happens in politics when there is one dominant party and more than 50% of the voters automatically vote for that party independent of the performance of that party? The best recent example is all of the complaining by the Occupy Wall Street types did not change one thing in policy or governance in the U.S. because the OWS just automatically vote for the establishment Democrats.
I would disagree about Cruz and suspect it will come down to a contest between Cruz and Bush. Cruz despite being apparently, I emphasize apparently, a nut case is much the smartest of the rest of the crowd and he touches something deep in the soul of the 65% of the hard right of the GOP who are the people who turn out in primaries. I don’t think Clinton needs to worry about either of them because of her persona which is completely fixed in the public mind and a combination of demographics and polarization. Republicans have spent over 20 years demonizing her with accusations of corruption and murder (Vince Foster!) so the law of diminishing returns cut in on this long ago and it risks becoming counter productive because of her gender. Then there’s demographics and polarization. This will not be a 36% (2014) or a 41% (2010) turnout election but around a 59% one which means some 132 million voters. The maximum number of voters Republicans have ever turned out was 62 million in 2004 and the last two elections have produced nearly the same number (60 million and 61 million) so there is clearly a ceiling on the Republican vote. Do the math. The Democrats biggest threat is complacency and fortunately Republicans and the media will spend a vast amount of time and effort selling the story that the race is wide open which should be enough to encourage Democratic angst since this is a fairly common condition in that party.
@michael reynolds: Don’t mean to be having some kind of dialog with you, sir. Just have a good bit of idle time today and scan down OTB when I pass the computer and, well, there you are all the time with remarks that interest me. So it’s your fault if I’m stalking you, ya see?
Anyhow, you’re of course correct about the importance of Ohio for electoral success in presidential contests. But Kasich has less chance of getting the Repub nomination than anyone except Gov Pence. He’s become a poster boy for RINOs; he’s pushed medicaid expansion, advocated comprehensive immigration reform and said nice things about common core. Has no future in the Repub party as it now exists.
“Do you think that a single Democrat is going to be voted out of office for supporting comprehensive immigration and thus, increasing the downward pressure of wages?”
You’re obviously not the sort of fellow for whom facts and empirical evidence loom large but a large majority want illegals to be given a path to citizenship. It’s not even close.
@James P: “We just need to ensure that the 60% conservative vote is not spread among many candidates.”
There’s no good way of ensuring that, with pick-one voting.
If, one of these centuries, the States enable score voting, that will end this longstanding problem completely.
Your reply appears to be gibberish. Can you translate it to English?
Yeah, but in the end they’ll nominate an establishment candidate, so Kasich has a shot at that slot if Bush falls out. A veeeeery long shot though, I agree.
Indeed…a repeat of ’64 is inevitable if the GOP puts a loon like Cruz in the general election…
Well, here is his first ad. Looks like he will lock up the Holy Honkie vote in no time…
@michael reynolds: Ed Kilgore disputes an article in The Hill that proposes an electoral college advantage for Gov Bush over Sec’ty Clinton. He brings up a potential Kasich position as VP. Which I hadn’t considered. Would make Ohio harder for Dems.
@michael reynolds: “…if Bush falls out”
Bush likely has enough money to run a high-speed drive through the entire primary cycle. One article claimed that his campaign fund’s goal was $500 million.
It’s also in the interest of the economy big boys to prevent another circus like in 2012. There have got to be a lot of people with serious money who’d kick in extra to prevent that circus from lasting any longer than it absolutely has to.