By Joe Gandelman, Editor in Chief, The Moderate Voice
Reprinted with permission from The Moderate Voice, a member of the San Diego Online News Association (SDONA)
December 28, 2014 (San Diego)--Yes, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a contender for the Republican Presidential nomination, even if he has not officially announced. Bigtime. A new poll shows his leaping to the top of the GOP presidential poll pack:
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has opened up a large lead over the Republican presidential field, according to a new poll.
Bush wins 23 percent of the Republican vote in the CNN/ORC polls, well ahead of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who gets 13 percent.
Bush announced this month that he is will “actively explore” a presidential run, and this is the first poll since his announcement. Bush’s entry into the race was expected to hurt Christie, who is also seen as a favorite of the GOP establishment.
Bush’s lead is up to 10 points, compared to just a four-point lead in a Washington Post/ABC News poll in mid-December.
This also means he’ll have a big, fat political target on his back as other GOPers and segments of the party try to stop Bush and what basically would be a second Bush Oval Office restoration. Most interestingly: he most hurts New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who has rebounded from “bridgegate” (nothing was found to directly link him at all to the political payback scandal which entailed his political operatives deliberately slowing down traffic on the George Washington Bridge to allegedly punish a mayor who didn’t endorse Christie’s re-election bid) — and shows the strength of conservative pediatric neosurgeon Ben Carson…who to many is a Twlight Zoner he’s so far out there to the right.
In the new CNN/ORC poll, pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson follows Christie, with 7 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) follow at 6 percent.
Christie is the main possible candidate to see a bump in this poll, other than Bush. Christie is up to 13 percent from 9 percent in the last CNN/ORC poll, in November.
By contrast, Carson and Huckabee, the next two candidates, both fell by four points since that November poll. Paul fell two points, from 8 percent to 6 percent.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has received a burst of attention by leading the opposition against President Obama’s move to open relations with Cuba, is up two points since November, though he is still at just 5 percent.
The poll shows that despite Bush’s lead, there are still doubts among Republicans about some of his policy positions. Bush has called for candidates not to try to conform to the views of the Republican base, saying a candidate should “lose the primary to win the general without violating your principles.”
By 42 to 20 percent, Republicans say that Bush’s statement that some illegal immigration is an “act of love” to reunite families makes them less likely to vote for him. Bush’s support for the Common Core education standards, a major issue among the Republican base, also makes voters less likely to vote for him, by 38 percent to 20 percent.
And then there is the non-news of the poll: the Dems still overwhelmingly like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Bush will have his work cut out for himself in winning the primaries and unifying the GOP. Conservatives are already gearing up for battle with him.
Talk show host Mark Levin (who calls Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” “The Morning Shmoe”) has steadily, consistently, and unfailingly blasted Bush on all occasions, painting him as a far too moderate member of a family that feels it’s entitled to the White House. On a recent broadcast listened to by yours truly on XM’s Patriot Channel, he repeatedly asked his listeners what it says about the Republican party that it could seriously consider handing over the White House to the same family for a third time. His argument was: what has the party become if it feels it must turn to one family over and over when there are so many other qualified people, particularly governors. And then he rattled off how bad the two previous Bushes were for the conservative movement.
Expect more if Bush gets the nomination. The fascinating part will be whether Bush feels he can stick to his political guns on his political positions on issues such as immigration reform that aren’t popular with conservatives and his continued assertion that political parties must at least try and work together. Or will he pull a Mitt Romney and jettison past positions and insist he isn’t doing so when even a can of Hormel Chili in the shelves at Safeway would know he’s pandering to get primary votes. Talking with and compromising with the other side flies in the face of modern conservatives’ perception of governance as a strictly power-political game where those who try to compromise or at all reassure the opposition are wusses or political traitors and need to be purged form the party or be marginalized.
Photo by Gage Skidmore () [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/