A new poll from Florida Southern College captures the fading hopes of Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. The former two-term Governor has dropped to fifth place in the Sunshine State, barely registering with just 4 percent support.
Tellingly, Bush’s support is within in the poll’s margin of error.
In the poll, Donald Trump leads the Republican field with 27 percent support. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is in second place with 20 percent support. Ted Cruz has 12 percent and Ben Carson has 6 percent.
Florida’s primary is March 15. Party leaders in the state moved the primary later in the calendar so its delegates could be awarded “winner-take-all”, i.e. the candidate who finishes first gets all of Florida’s delegates. The move was widely seen as an assist to Bush, who was favored to win his home state.
As polling stands now, neither of Florida’s native sons, Bush or Rubio, would receive any delegates from their home state, as Trump maintains a strong lead. It is a cautionary tale not to take things for granted in a dynamic nominating contest.
Trump’s support is down considerably since polling in January. In the current RealClearPolitics average of polls, which is made up of polls in January, Trump enjoys a 21 point lead. This latest poll from Florida Southern, conducted in the days following the Iowa caucus, shows considerable tightening in the race.
Rubio has gained a considerable amount of support since the caucus, mostly at the expense of both Trump and Cruz. The fascinating thing, though, is that Rubio’s fortunates in his home state have seemingly improved because of his performance in other contests. One would normally expect a home state to provide a signficant amount of support, irrespective of how the campaign is doing elsewhere.
Still, the most important take-away is the utter collapse of support for Jeb Bush, even in his home state. In July, Bush regularly enjoyed double-digit leads in Florida polling. Since the beginning of January, he has lost two-thirds of his support.
Florida Republicans moved their primary in hopes of giving one of their own a decisive edge in the nomination battle. Instead, the state may provide the final coda for one or both of their native sons’ campaigns.