Jeb, Not George, Is The Unpopular Bush

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Blake Neff Reporter
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Jeb Bush is less well-liked by the American people than his brother, former President George W. Bush, according to an NBC/Marist poll released Monday.

According to the poll, only 23 percent of U.S. adults view Jeb Bush favorably, while 34 percent view him unfavorably. That’s a negative split of 11 percent. In contrast, his brother George is viewed positively by 35 percent of the country and unfavorably by 39 percent. While his unfavorable rating is slightly higher, his overall negative split is just 4 percent.

Jeb’s lower support is in large part due to substantial distaste for him among Republicans. Although he currently is at or near the top of most Republican primary polls, a very large contingent of Republicans say they can’t see themselves voting for him. Among likely GOP primary voters, 49 percent said they could see themselves voting for the former Florida governor, but 42 percent said they could not. The latter figure was the third-highest of any of the 14 Republicans listed, trailing only Chris Christie (57 percent) and Donald Trump (74 percent) in terms of disfavor.

What’s holding back Jeb? Besides his positions on issues like immigration and Common Core, it’s possibly the fact that he’s regarded as a man of the past rather than an agent of change. Sixty percent of respondents said that if Jeb became president he would represent too much of a return to the policies of the past, while just 27 percent said he represented new ideas and vision. That put him well behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom 44 percent of voters pegged as having new ideas.

The poll also offered surprising good news for a prospective presidential candidacy by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Among Republicans, the candidate with the widest possible base of support wasn’t Jeb, but Rubio. Fifty-six percent of Republican primary voters said they could see themselves voting for the senator, the highest of any potential candidate. Only 26 percent said they couldn’t support him, giving him a positive split of 30 percent.

The candidate with the best split, however, was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. With 53 percent saying they could support him while only 17 percent said they couldn’t, his positive split among Republicans was a whopping 36 percent.

The poll was conducted from March 1-5. It had 1,000 respondents with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The sample of 229 Republican primary voters had a larger margin of error of about 6.5 percentage points.

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