Exclusive: Jeb Bush Is Clear Leader In Latest New Hampshire GOP Poll

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Jeb Bush is the clear frontrunner in a New Hampshire GOP presidential primary poll released Monday.

The poll, conducted by Gravis Marketing on behalf of the Howie Carr Show and shared exclusively with The Daily Caller, asked 487 Republican primary voters who they would support in the crowded GOP field.

Though he has yet to officially announce his candidacy, Bush, the former governor of Florida, was the favorite for 21 percent of likely Republican primary voters. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul tied in second with a 13 percent showing. Surprisingly, real estate billionaire Donald Trump polled fourth with 12 percent of the tally. Trump has said he will announce his decision whether to run on June 16.

The poll has a margin of error of four percentage points.

In what is perhaps the most disappointing result for a leading candidate, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio received support from just nine percent of respondents. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina received support from five percent as did retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

The poll indicates that Bush is on the upswing in the Granite State. A Gravis poll conducted in early April had Bush with 18 percent support. Walker was at 16 percent, and Paul at 15 percent. Trump was not listed. In a Bloomberg poll released early last month, Bush was slightly behind Walker and Paul. Eleven percent said they would vote for Bush while 12 percent supported Walker and Paul. Rubio received 11 percent support in that poll; Trump notched eight percent.

Fifty-seven percent of those who took part in the this month’s Gravis poll said they are affiliated with the GOP. Forty-two percent consider themselves independent. In New Hampshire, independent and non-affiliated voters can vote in either party’s primary, a set-up which makes New Hampshire a good predictor for electability in the general election. This cycle’s primary will be held Feb. 9, 2016.

In the 2012 race, eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney carried 39 percent of the primary vote. Former Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul received 23 percent of the tally, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman took third with 17 percent. Four years earlier, Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain received 37 percent of the primary vote. He won the party’s nomination. Romney trailed with 32 percent while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee received 11 percent of the primary vote.

According to cross tabulations recorded by Gravis, Bush has more support among primary voters who identify as Republicans versus those who are unaffiliated with a party. Just under a quarter of Republicans support George W. Bush’s younger brother compared to 17 percent of independents who back him. The opposite is true for Paul and Rubio. Sixteen percent of independents back Paul versus just 10.5 percent of Republicans. Paul’s anti-interventionist stance and his criticism of laws like the Patriot Act has cost him support among the GOP. Ten percent of independents chose Rubio compared to just under eight percent of Republicans.

Walker’s share of the vote is split evenly between GOP supporters and independents alike: 12.7 percent of both groups support him. Walker leads polling in the Iowa caucus, a contest that usually favors conservative Republicans over moderates.

In its poll, Gravis focused on two areas of interest: immigration reform and the growing threat of Islamic terrorism.

Forty-three percent said they oppose immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship while 37 percent said they support it. Twenty-one percent said they were unsure where they stand on the issue.

Immigration is considered a major roadblock for both Bush’s and Rubio’s hopes of winning the GOP nod. Both are considered outliers among the Republican field field. Bush once supported a path to citizenship but has backed away from that position in recent years. Rubio was one of the so-called “Gang of Eight” who pushed a failed comprehensive immigration reform package in the senate in 2013. The proposal included a pathway to eventual citizenship, though Rubio has backed away from that position as well.

Seventy-five percent of poll respondents said that they believe that not enough is being done to fight radical Islamic terrorism in the Middle East. Just over half of those polled — 51 percent — said that the U.S. should deploy ground troops to fight ISIS.

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