The newest Iowa poll has nearly catastrophic news for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker must be smiling: Bush comes in 7th, a virtual fringe candidate (which is indeed what more moderate Republicans are in today’s GOP) and Walker is zooming. Politico reports:
The Wisconsin governor retains his advantage among Iowa Republican caucus-goers, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, with 21 percent of likely participants saying they would vote for him if the caucus were held today.
Bush, the former Florida governor, comes in seventh — with just 5 percent responding that they would vote for him. Only 39 percent said they viewed him favorably, compared with 45 percent who said they did not.
It’s clearly due to two reasons: 1)His last name 2) He’s not echoing the Republican Party’s talk show political culture where politicians, activists and some conservative bloggers seemingly vomit out the slogans, arguments, and polemics of talk popular conservative radio and cable talk show hosts. Someone suspected of being the m-word relatively speaking is in worse shape than someone with the B-name. Jeb has the worst of both world, when it comes to achieving his party’s nomination — big bucks to the contrary. Which means he’ll have to do a political limbo and shift positions or stick with his guns and hope his bankroll obliterates others (who could be funded by the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson):
Below Walker and above Bush, the race is tight between Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 13 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 12 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 11 percent.
Sixty-nine percent of participants said that Walker is honest and trustworthy (versus 11 percent who didn’t), compared with 58 percent to 30 percent who say the same for Bush.
For Rubio, 72 percent to 13 percent said he is honest and trustworthy, while Paul got high marks as well (77 percent to 13 percent).
“More of those surveyed view Bush unfavorably than favorably, compared to Walker’s 5-1 positive ratio. And 45 percent say Bush is not conservative enough. It’s among the GOP conservative base that Bush finds himself trailing Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
For favorability ratings, no other candidate scored better than Rubio. Just 9 percent of likely caucus-goers said they have an unfavorable opinion of the junior Florida senator, while 69 percent said they viewed him favorably.
Some other views:
I’ve met a lot of people in my life, and I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who would be happy to wake up tomorrow and learn that they’d been infected with a sexually-transmitted disease. Yet, if you ask conservative Iowa voters, they would have a slight preference for the STD diagnosis over another Bush presidency. Chlamydia is polling just below Ben Carson and a bit ahead of Jeb Bush.
I think I speak figuratively here, but they should go ahead and explicitly ask the question just so we can be sure. Quinnipiac finds the Jebster polling in seventh place in the first-in-the-nation Hawkeye State with the support of about one in twenty likely caucus-goers. That’s the big news this morning, along with the fact that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is not only leading the poll but has a little daylight between himself (21%) and his nearest competitors (Rubio and Paul, at 13% each).
If you’re having a bout of empathy for the Bush family, please consider how Rick Santorum (2%), Carly Fiorina (2%), and Bobby Jindal (1%) are feeling today.
I have a suspicion that Team Walker is a bit unnerved by this good news. I remember when John McCain crushed George W. Bush in New Hampshire and looked like the dog who had caught the car. He never intended to actually win, what was he supposed to do now?
Bush’s calculus in Iowa is different than that faced by the candidates in 2012, but it’s not that different. If this current poll holds up, then it’s fairly clear that he’s got an uphill battle ahead of him if he goes full bore in Iowa. Given the fact that there will be a large number of candidates in the race at that point, and that the electorate in the Hawkeye State is not entirely sympathetic to Bush to begin with, that doesn’t necessarily make much sense. Sure, Bush could put millions into Iowa quite easily if he wanted to, but if he does that and walks away with anything other than a clear win then his campaign will be hobbled heading into the far more important contest in New Hampshire, and losing in New Hampshire would likely to be fatal to his campaign. It’s entirely possible that Bush’s numbers in Iowa will improve as the campaign goes on, but if this is any indication of what he’s facing there then making only a minimal investment at best in the Hawkeye State and concentrating resources in states that are far more important, like New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and Florida. Bush may be reluctant to make this decision considering that his father won the Caucuses in 1980, and his brother won them in 2000, but these are different times.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.