Why is That Nice Jeb So Unpopular?

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Looking for Hillary alternatives: Has Sheryl Sandberg ruled out running for President? I don’t think so. ….


Don’t tell the donors: Why isn’t this a brutal poll for Jeb Bush? The WSJ says it shows GOP “resistance” to his candidacy, which it does — Jeb finishes in fourth place, below Rubio, Walker and Huckabee, when GOP voters nationwide (not just in Iowa) are asked whom they could see themselves supporting. Bush has said he wants to be Republican voters’ “second choice” — but the poll suggests that’s exactly what he’s not. Forty-two percent of Republicans say no, they could not see themselves supporting him. (For Rubio the figure is 26 percent, for Walker 17.)

But it’s worse than that: Jeb has big general election problems too. A particularly embarrassing summary list at the end of WSJ/NBC Question 8 shows Jeb dead last among 9 “public figures, groups and organizations” when it comes to the positive/negative feelings — feelings held by all adults (not just Republicans). Why would people dislike Jeb? He’s the pleasant, articulate Bush! Yet he’s 11 points underwater (23 percent positive to 34 percent negative). That’s worse than Bill Clinton (56 positive, 26 negative), the Federal Reserve, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Janet Yellen, Barack Obama, Scott Walker and even his brother “W.” Did I miss something? Did Jeb invade Iraq?

Would any of Bush’s billionaire backers invest in a business or product with these kinds of numbers? The Bush campaign certainly won’t be able to use this poll to push Rubio out of the race, since Rubio trounces him in it. I wouldn’t show the poll to Columba either.

P.S.: That poor Scott Walker — as Nate Cohn notes, he’s embroiled in a fight for GOP moderate voters and a fight for GOP conservative voters. Jeb doesn’t have that problem. …

 P.P.S.: I’m sticking with my perverse position that it’s in Jeb’s interest for Christie to stay in the race. If Job #1 for Bush right now appears to be stopping Walker — well, Christie has great potential, down the road, to steal votes from Walker, especially if the need to be anti-Bush pushes Christie a bit to his right (on, say, anti-unionism) and further onto Walker’s turf. In Iowa Bush will need other, Christie-like candidates to go negative on Walker, a la Howard Dean vs. Dick Gephardt, letting him slide through a la John Kerry. …

When Mitt Romney declined to run, remember, it was going to “bump up” Jeb in the polls “pretty dramatically” (according to Fox’s Chris Stirewalt). Instead, Bush held flat while Walker surged [point stolen from alert tweeter @NotreDameFan27]. Why do we think Bush would inherit Christie’s support (such as it is)? …


 Regression toward the not-mean-enough:

“We will have to continue to do that in the future to ensure that we are able to do the work that we are called to do and with the right partners along the way.”

Chelsea Clinton seems to have inherited her mom’s ability to say nothing. It’s less clear she inherited her dad’s charm (or the ability and desire, seemingly essential for any pol, to make a point in a pithy, attention-getting way). …


Mickey Kaus