Not the first poll to show the Bushitler within striking distance of the Unicorn Prince, but if you’re taking this as a sign of a nascent Jeb boomlet, alas, my friends, alas:

Fully 50 percent of independents are already a hard no on Jeb. Granted, that number would soften during a campaign, but his favorable rating starts at eight points underwater (29/37/33). This is the guy who’s going to jump in late and be the GOP’s white knight?

Even more depressing:

Interestingly though asked who they’d vote for if George W. Bush was allowed to run against Barack Obama for a third term next year, voters only go for Obama by a 48-44 margin. One thing that number shows is a softening of feelings toward the former President. His favorability is now a 41/49 spread, and he’s back up to 81% of Republicans with a favorable opinion of him. His approval numbers with them were much lower than that in the closing years of his term but these figures suggest that all is forgiven, at least with the base.

The other thing they show though is the remarkable weakness at this point of the 2012 Republican field. Only Mike Huckabee, who trails by 3, does better in a match up against Obama than George W. Bush. Mitt Romney who trails by 5, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul who trail by 9, Sarah Palin who trails by 12, and Donald Trump who trails by 14 all do worse than that. Not a good sign when most of your leading lights fare worse than a former President who left office with atrocious poll numbers.

So Dubya, who’s now routinely (and rightly) derided by grassroots conservatives for having helped blaze the path to unsustainability, is still our second strongest candidate. I know Bush has a major name-recognition advantage, but after the past two years even generic/unknown Republicans should be polling well against Obama. And in fact, they are: PPP also polled The One head to head with “moderate Republican” and “conservative tea-party Republican” and found him trailing the former by two and leading the latter by just four. How can our field be so weak that only Huckabee does as well? No wonder John Thune is encouraging primary voters to think about electability, electability, electability. If the only way we win is by nominating “generic Republican,” why not nominate him, the most generic Republican of ’em all?

Exit question: Is Noemie Emery right?