Jeb Bush Up, Rand Paul And Ted Cruz Down In Latest GOP Poll

Jeb Bush's campaign launch seems to be going well so far, while Rand Paul and Ted Cruz (and Donald Trump) seem to be slipping.

Jeb Bush Campaign Speech

Jeb Bush seems to have gotten a fairly decent reception in the polls from his Presidential campaign launch, while Donald Trump’s circus may have less life in it than expected, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll:

Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio are solidifying their positions at the front of the pack of Republican presidential contenders, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds, with large shares of social conservatives, centrists and gun-rights backers within the GOP saying they are open to supporting either candidate.

Three-quarters of GOP primary voters say they could see themselves supporting Mr. Bush or Mr. Rubio, a significantly larger share than for any other contender.

Only Mike Huckabee is close after a surge of support since the prior Journal/NBC News poll, in April, with 65% now saying they could see themselves backing him. The survey found a decline in support for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

The news is particularly good for Mr. Bush, a former Florida governor, who has weathered a mixed set of developments in recent weeks. The potential support for Mr. Bush rose slightly, by five percentage points, since April and has jumped 26 points since March.

Moreover, few voters seem concerned about the relatives of past presidents running for the White House, something that was seen as a liability for Mr. Bush when he began building his campaign.

When presented with six election developments that might raise concerns, only 4% of all poll respondents said their top worry was that “too many people from the same families are running as have run in the past,” a concern that might also apply to Democrat Hillary Clinton. The top concern was that “wealthy individuals and corporations will have too much influence over who wins,” a worry expressed more by Democrats than by Republicans.

Mr. Bush also holds the lead when Republican primary voters are asked to name the one candidate they would pick for the nomination, with 22% support. Behind him are Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, with 17%, and Mr. Rubio, of Florida, with 14%. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, was fourth, with 11% support.

A broad set of GOP primary voters say they are considering Messrs. Bush and Rubio for the nomination. The two men rank No. 1 or No. 2 in potential support among socially conservative voters, who account for half of the GOP electorate, and gun-rights backers, who account for two-thirds. They also lead among self-described conservatives and those who identify themselves as moderates or liberals.

After Carson former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee comes in fifth at 9%, followed by Rand Paul, whose numbers seem to be sinking, at 7%, Rick Perry at 5%, Chris Christie and Ted Cruz each at 4%, Carly Fiorina at 2%, and Lindsey Graham, John Kaisch, and Donald Trump each at 1%. The most notable thing about this poll is the fact that Bush’s numbers seem to have jumped significantly from where they have been over the past month or more. In the most recent poll before this one, from Monmouth University, Bush was tied for third place with Marco Rubio at 9% while Ben Carson and Scott Walker were in first and second place respectively. While that poll may have been an outlier, in the polling before that, the race was far tighter than this poll shows it to be and Bush was averaging between 10% and 13%, which essentially kept him tied at the top. What’s perhaps more important for Bush, though, is the fact that more respondents are saying that they could consider voting for him, either in November 2016 or in a primary, than any other candidate in the race, and a relatively small number say they would not consider voting for him. The only candidate that’s close to him on the “would consider” side of the ledger is fellow Floridian Marco Rubio, while Rubio, Scott Walker, and Ben Carson are slightly below Bush on the “would not consider voting for” side of the spectrum. All in all, this is pretty good news for Bush since it would seem to show that the doubts about him among the GOP base are not as big an issue as anticipated.

The poll is also notable for what it says about other candidates, especially Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Politico has already noted the extent to which this poll provides more evidence that Rand Paul, who was once at or near the top of Presidential polling among Republicans, has fallen significantly. The same is true, though, of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. When he first entered the race, the Texas Senator jumped up to 16% and the top of the polls. Granted, no small part of that was due to the fact that he was the first declared candidate from either party. Paul saw a similar bump in the polls when he entered the race a few weeks after Cruz. In both cases, though, the bounces quickly evaporated and both men are polling lower than they did prior to entering the race. There’s still a lot of time to go before people start voting, but it’s never good when you start losing ground in the polls only a few months after you enter the race. On the other hand, these are national polls, and Paul and Rubio haven’t fallen as much in state polling in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina. However, it’s not a good sign for either campaign.

On a final note, this is the first national poll released since Donald Trump entered the race, and it doesn’t bode well for the viability of his campaign. Whereas previous national polling had Trump pulling around 4-5% of the vote, putting him in the top ten candidates in the field, in this poll he’s at one percent. If that’s an indication of where his numbers are headed, then he may not make the cut for the first debates, and his campaign, such as it is, would be rather short-lived. As I’ve said before, this is not a bad thing.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. EddieInCA says:

    The Ad writes itself:

    George H.W. Bush – A War in the Middle East.

    George W. Bush – TWO wars in the MIddle East.

    Jeb Bush – ???

    Can we take the chance with another Bush in the White House?

    If you want War, vote for JEB!

  2. Mu says:

    if you want War, vote for JEB!
    Everybody needs a target demographic, why not hawks and outright war mongers?

  3. michael reynolds says:

    The poll was taken 6-14 to 6-18, so the last part of that came in the wake of Charleston. I imagine there was a “retreat to sanity” among Republicans shocked, shocked that their incessant rhetoric of white victimization and black perfidy combined with their desire to give everyone a gun might result in nine dead people in a church.

    Don’t worry, they’ll get over it. The GOP noise machine will start to pump out the usual “Whaddya gonna do?” crap (see James’ post today) and liberals are going to be telling Republicans exactly what they can do, so Republicans being Republicans will bounce back to the crazies and rush out to buy more guns while blaming blacks for the crime of complaining about being massacred.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Good news for Hillary.

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Thank you for this momentary snapshot of the attitude of the electorate 9 months before any of them will be able to cast a primary vote.

    I’m still waiting on those next year’s World Series predictions.

  6. HarvardLaw92 says:

    On an unrelated note – the court has just added two additional non-argument days later this week (Thursday and Friday) for the announcement of opinions.

    I do not expect an opinion in Obergefell until Monday, but it’s entirely possible that we’ll see rulings in either Glossip v. Gross or King v. Burwell, and possibly both, later this week.

  7. PJ says:


    I’m still waiting on those next year’s World Series predictions.

    The San Francisco Giants.

    Because they have won it the last three even years.

    It’s as simple as that.

    Let’s Go Giants!

  8. grumpy realist says:

    Karl Rove has said something remarkably sensible: he’s not going to believe that Donald Trump is in fact running for POTUS until the official paperwork is in fact filed (complete with all the financial disclosures.)

  9. Paul Hooson says:

    Jeb Bush will be the nominee. It will be Clinton and Bush in 2016. Rubio will be a strong runner-up to Bush in the primaries, but lacks the experience, etc, to garner the nomination…

  10. Kylopod says:

    @Paul Hooson:

    Rubio will be a strong runner-up to Bush in the primaries, but lacks the experience, etc, to garner the nomination…

    Yes, a first-term Senator with a blatantly ethnic name could never beat an experienced pol with the name of a recent president….

  11. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:


    Everybody needs a target demographic, why not hawks and outright war mongers?

    They have plenty of candidates, on both parties.