Are Republicans Warming Up To Jeb Bush?

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Blake Neff Reporter
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More Republicans are willing to consider voting for Jeb Bush than for any other candidate, according to a newly-released NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that is great news for the recently announced president contender.

According to the poll, 75 percent of likely Republican primary voters could see themselves backing Bush, while just 22 percent say they cannot, a net difference of +53. The only Republican performing as well is Marco Rubio, whom 74 percent of voters say they could support compared to just 15 percent who say they could not (a net of +59).

The two are way ahead of the pack when it comes to the gap between potential supporters and surefire opponents. Coming in third is Scott Walker, with 57 percent saying they would consider him and 19 percent saying they wouldn’t, a net of +38. Behind him are Mike Huckabee (+38), Ben Carson (+29), Rick Perry (+22), and Ted Cruz (+20). Notably, Rand Paul is a very polarizing candidate.

Bush also finished on top when voters were asked to name their current first choice, with 22 percent naming him. Walker finished second with 17 percent support, and Rubio took third with 14 percent.

The least popular Republican candidates according to the poll are John Kasich, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump, who all finished in the negatives; more voters said they definitely would vote against them than said they would consider backing them. Christie and Trump are particularly distasteful to Republicans, with 55 and 66 percent of voters, respectively, saying they would not consider voting for them. None of these candidates attracted more than 4 percent support as a first choice.

Bush’s numbers represent a big surge for him since last March, when a similar poll showed him with a 49-42 split, for a net of only +7. Rubio has also seen a big boost, rising from a +30 net back in March.

On the other hand, Rand Paul’s potential support is declining as he becomes one of the most polarizing figures in the 2016 race. While he’s performing respectably in recent polls, 45 percent of Republicans say they won’t consider voting for him, and just 49 percent say they will (+4).

The poll was conducted from June 14-18, the exact time period leading up to and following Bush’s announcement. As a result, it’s possible Bush received an announcement boost similar to that experienced by presidential candidates after their party’s convention.

The poll used a sample of 236 registered Republican voters who planned to vote in a primary, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 6.5 percentage points.

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