The challenge involved in Jeb Bush’s quest for the White House is perfectly encapsulated in a new poll of Pennsylvania by Public Policy Polling. At -35, Jeb Bush has the worst favorable rating of any candidate for President, including Hillary Clinton.
His personal ratings are even upside down among voters who backed Mitt Romney in 2012.
The PPP poll found Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton trailing most major Republican candidates in Pennsylvania, except Jeb Bush. In the Keystone State, Clinton leads Jeb by 5 points.
Republicans haven’t won Pennsylvania in a Presidential election in 30 years, although the vote has been close in recent elections. PPP often has a Democrat-tilt in its polls, so it is notable that Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie all lead Clinton in the state.
Jeb’s 5-point deficit to Clinton, who is viewed only slightly more favorably than Bush by Pennsylvania voters, is an indication that a Bush candidacy would likely revert to the political mean next fall.
Only 24 percent of Keystone state voters have a favorable view of Bush, while 59 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Bush’s 35-point deficit is far worse than any other Republican candidate. It is also much worse than Hillary Clinton’s favorable rating, which is 35 percent positive, 57 percent negative.
Only Vice President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Ben Carson have net positive favorable ratings.
Bush’s problems run deeper than his poor overall favorable ratings, though. His favorable numbers are upside down even among Republicans and self-identified Romney voters. Just 36 percent of Romney voters have a positive opinion of Bush, while 43 percent have a negative opinion. Except for Chris Christie and John Kasich, every other Republican candidate is viewed favorably by Romney voters.
For example, 60 percent of Romney voters have a favorable view of Donald Trump, while only 24 percent have a negative view.
Self-identified Republicans hold similarly negative views of Bush. Again, Bush joins the likes of Chris Christie and John Kasich, the only Republican candidates whom Republican voters view unfavorably.
Bush, when he was considering a race for the nomination, opined publicly that the party needed a candidate who was willing to “lose the primary to win the general.” Based on his polling numbers in Pennsylvania, and virtually every other state tested, Bush is well on his way to fulfilling the first part of that argument.