Jeb! Has a Likability Problem

Top-Polling GOP Candidates Participate In First Republican Presidential Debate
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Jeb Bush left elected office almost a decade ago, before the Obama Era was inaugurated. It is an understatement to say that the political world has undergone significant, tectonic-plate-like, shifts since then.

While certain segments of the Republican political establishment may see Jeb Bush as an obvious candidate for President, the majority of the voting public seems to have moved on. Bush’s current struggles in the polls aren’t simply a factor of the Trump phenomenon, but the inevitable result of the voters simply not liking Bush that much.

A new Gallup survey finds that Bush’s net favorable ratings among Republican voters is just +19 points, down sharply from early July. This puts him ninth among all the candidates, even though he has nearly universal name recognition. The only candidate who is better known than Bush is Donald Trump. Trump’s net favorables are +32 points, far surpassing Jeb’s numbers.

Just two weeks ago, Jeb was more popular among Republican voters than Donald Trump.

Among all voters, a new poll from Democrat firm PPP finds that 28 percent have a positive view of Bush, while 51 percent are unfavorable. He is less well liked by voters than even Hillary Clinton. Only New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has a worse favorablity rating than Bush.

Among Republicans, the PPP finds Jeb Bush with just a 1-point net approval rating.  Only 42 percent of Republicans have a positive view of Bush, lower than Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is unknown to almost 40 percent of Republicans. Bush’s numbers are not those usually associated with a frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

In a hypothetical match-up between Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Jeb Bush and Independent Donald Trump, Trump pulls almost as much Republican support as Jeb. In the three-way race, Trump gets 44 percent of the Republican vote while Jeb gets just 46 percent.

Bush’s numbers are even worse among Independents, though. More than half of Independents, 55 percent, have a negative opinion of Bush. Just 18 percent have a positive view. Bush is more unpopular with Independents, even, than Hillary Clinton. Bush, in fact is the ONLY Republican candidate to lose the Independent vote in match-ups with ALL the potential Democrat nominees.

Bush even loses Independents to socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a feat managed by no other Republican candidate. Needing to win back Independents from an aging socialist is not an auspicious start to any Republican campaign.

Somewhere, perhaps Manhattan, South Beach or D.C., a Bush candidacy makes sense. In the world where voters live though, Jeb is answering a call no one made. He may be, in fact, based on current polling, the only Republican candidate guaranteed to lose to Hillary Clinton.