New polls from NBC News and Marist out from New Hampshire and Iowa show that, once again, billionaire Donald Trump is winning a fight with yet another career politician: This time, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Bush’s position in the all-important first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa has deteriorated significantly as he’s at a meager 6 percent—in a poll with a margin of error of 5.5 percent—meaning he’s slipping further and further into the lower tiers of candidates there. Trump, meanwhile, is at 29 percent in Iowa while fellow political outsider and conservative Dr. Ben Carson is at 22 percent. The two of them—Carson and Trump—combined earn 51 percent of the GOP primary electorate in Iowa. Throw in Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who’s also never held political office and is currently at 5 percent, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)—another political outsider who’s only held office for two years in the U.S. Senate and is at 4 percent—and a strong majority of 60 percent of Iowa Republicans support a political outsider and not another Bush.
The concurrently released poll from the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire shows a nearly identical trend there. New Hampshire, which unlike Iowa is a pretty much must-win-state for Bush to be able to get the nomination or at least to get it early enough that there isn’t a convention feud later, clearly doesn’t like him. Trump tops the field again with 28 percent. Carson is in third with 11 percent. Bush has slipped back to fourth place with just 8 percent—a six-point slide from when Trump got in the race in July, when the same pollsters found him at 14 percent—an embarrassingly low number for the guy who is supposed to the frontrunner at this point. What’s more, in second place just ahead of Carson but still quite a ways behind Trump is Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 12 percent. That means Kasich—another establishment-minded Republican candidate—has moved Bush out of the way and essentially blown past him as the new establishment frontrunner.
These new polling results come amid a renewed fight between Trump and Bush over the past couple weeks. Trump has always had his guns trained on not just Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, but Bush as the GOP establishment frontrunner, since the beginning of the race. He hit Bush in his announcement speech and has repeatedly aggressively criticized the former governor as weak, lacking leadership skills and part of the same old tired political class that’s led America down a horrendous path it’s currently on.
Bush initially tried to challenge Trump at the beginning of the race as having been too tough on illegal immigrants—along with a whole host of other politicians and cultural figures who pushed back on Trump’s announcement speech—but Trump not only survived through that firestorm he came out of it in a much stronger position. So, as other candidates attempted to attack Trump over the past couple months after that, Bush has remained relatively quiet about the front-running billionaire. Trump, meanwhile, has systematically destructed once-promising GOP candidates one at a time as they’ve come knocking at his door. One by one, Trump has essentially ended chances at the GOP nomination for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and deflated candidacies of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Graham was first, and was polling decently with an outside chance of rising—and had the support of and endorsement from 2008 GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)—but now he’s at less than 1 percent in both Iowa and New Hampshire according to the NBC News-Marist poll with speculation mounting that he will soon be the first candidate to drop out of the race. Perry was second, coming guns-a-blazing at Trump with everything he had, and he’s lost the most from it. In July, Perry was at 3 percent in Iowa—now he’s less than a percent there. He’s still polling at less than a full 1 percent in New Hampshire, completely failing to gain any traction.
Walker went next, as in early August he attempted to battle with Trump in Iowa. Trump crushed him, ripped him apart, and seemingly took all of his supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire. Back in February, when Trump wasn’t even registering in the NBC-Marist polling, Walker stood at 15 percent in New Hampshire. That slipped to 12 percent in July. Now he’s at just 4 percent. Meanwhile, Trump—who wasn’t included in their February poll, but registered at 21 percent in July—now stands at 28 percent. Between July and now, Walker has lost 8 percent in the Granite State while Trump has picked up 7 percent. The same phenomenon happened in Iowa. While Trump wasn’t included in the February polling, Walker stood at 15 percent. In July, Walker registered at 19 percent—whereas Trump was at 17 percent—but now Walker is at just 5 percent to Trump’s 29 percent.
Bush largely stayed out of the battles with Trump since that first bout until this past week, when Trump released a video attacking him for calling illegal immigration an “act of love.”
A Willie Horton-esque type ad—published via video on Instagram—Trump’s team overlaid Bush’s comments praising illegal immigration as some sort of “act of love” with images of convicted criminal illegal aliens, including murderers who wouldn’t have been able to kill the Americans they killed had the nation enforced its immigration laws.
Bush lost it, using a press conference in Miami to rip Trump in the foreign language of Spanish—rather than American English—in which he accused Trump of inaccurately attacking him daily since the businessman announced his campaign in July. Pressed later for specifics of even just one example of Trump saying something about Bush that was “not true,” as Bush alleged in Spanish in that presser, Bush’s campaign team including campaign manager Danny Diaz couldn’t find any.
These polls were conducted Aug. 26 through Sept. 2, which means that they were conducted in the middle of the Bush-Trump feud—and signal that Bush’s actions have basically backfired. On the final day the pollsters were in the field, Sept. 2, Trump fired back at Bush for using a foreign language on the campaign trail instead of speaking English—proficiency in which is required by law of immigrants seeking citizenship, so there’s really hardly anyone Bush could be talking to who doesn’t speak English who could vote for him—in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News.
“I like Jeb,” Trump said. “He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.”
When asked later to clarify who Bush was speaking to in foreign tongue, his spokesman Tim Miller told Breitbart News cited a Gallup statistic set to note that 23 percent “of English speaking conservatives in America also speak a 2nd language, predominately Spanish.” That Gallup data was published back on April 6, 2001—more than a decade ago—and Miller wouldn’t answer a follow-up question when asked why Bush doesn’t just speak in English to all Americans, conservative or liberal, since Bush’s campaign is now claiming he was targeting bilingual Americans rather than people who only speak Spanish.
“Well, in the instance you are referring to, he was at La Progressiva school which teaches kids to speak English and Spanish, it is a pretty cool place, the kids spoke to him in both languages,” Miller said instead of answering why Bush didn’t just speak English to speak to everyone.
Miller also has thus far refused to make the governor available for an interview on this topic, a sign that he may be afraid to continue to defend his decision to use a foreign language on the campaign trail despite having initially defended himself from Trump’s attack.
Trump hasn’t won the war yet, but this initial polling indicates he’s much closer than most of the beltway establishment egging Bush on to fight with him thinks he is. It remains to be seen what happens next but if this trend continues, Trump may just succeed in crushing the biggest elephant in the establishment room: Bush. If that happens, this race could turn into a contest between all sorts of political outsiders as the establishment in Washington continues failing to understand what Trump called “the Summer of Trump” a few weeks ago—a summer that’s turning quickly into fall as well.