Trump’s primary-night victory party at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach will be epic, the final stage of his transformation into Rodney Dangerfield’s establishment-smashing country-clubber in “Caddyshack.” In the meantime, a question: Isn’t Jeb Bush supposed to be popular in Florida? When was the last time anyone checked on that, 2005?
Only 40% of voters in the state think Bush should keep running, compared to 47% who think he should drop out. And the numbers are similar for Rubio with just 42% believing he should continue on with his campaign to 48% who believe he should end it…
Bush’s position with the GOP electorate in Florida is so weak that he even trails Trump 55/38 when the two are matched up head to head. Trump’s 56/35 favorability rating comes in a tick ahead of Bush’s 55/36 favorability. When we polled the state earlier this year Bush led the Republican field at 25%, and boasted a 66/24 rating.
Trump leads with 28 percent in PPP’s poll, with Ben Carson second at 17 percent, Bush at 13, and Rubio at 10. Gravis has Trump at 33.6 percent followed by Carson at 22.4, Jeb at 15.2, and Rubio at a dismal 5.4. Yes, you read that correctly: Both polls have Trump ahead of the combined total of Florida’s two native sons. For Rubio, at least, there’s a glimmer of hope in his favorable ratings. He’s at 73/20 in PPP’s survey, which is good enough to lead Trump head to head there 49/46. When Gravis tested Rubio and Bush head to head in a battle for Florida, Rubio won that too — handily, topping Jeb 51/31(!). He’s also more likely to have Republicans say he should stay in the race than Jeb, with 62 percent backing Rubio’s continued run versus just 52 percent who want Bush to keep going. The reasons for that may be more complex than simple popularity. Jeb’s strategy, remember, was to try to clear the field early with a “shock and awe” fundraising blitz; he was sold as a guy who would poll well right out of the gate. Hasn’t happened, which leaves him smelling of disappointment. Rubio’s a guy whom everyone expects will need time to introduce himself to voters before any boomlet happens, if it happens. He doesn’t have the same air of deflated expectations at this point in the race as Jeb does. Also, it may be that Floridians are more invested in Rubio because they know him better than Bush at this point. One of the questions hanging over Jeb before he got in was that he’d been out of office for so long that young adult voters might have no idea of who he is beyond his surname. You may be seeing that in the “keep running” numbers here. If you’re a 25-year-old who voted for Rubio for Senate, you want him to give every chance to surge in the polls. Meanwhile, Bush had left office before you were even old enough to vote. Who cares what he ends up doing?
As for Jeb’s supposed strength with Latino voters, chew on these three results:
Those numbers are for the overall electorate in Florida, of course, not just Republicans. Rubio is strongest with Latinos at net -5; Trump, who’s been a villain in Spanish-language media for three months, is at -20; and the great establishment hope, Jeb, is at … -23. In fairness to him, he’s actually the best of three among Latinos head to head with Hillary — sort of. She leads him 46/33 with that group versus 50/36 against Rubio and 56/34 against Trump. That is to say, although Jeb pulls the smallest share of Latinos among the three candidates, he also holds Hillary to her smallest share, leading to a deficit of just 13 points. Then again, if Hillary only ends up pulling 55-60 percent of the Latino vote against Donald “Mexican rapists” Trump in swing states, she’ll almost certainly lose the election regardless. Trump’s numbers here are actually surprisingly good for a Republican, especially one who’s made his bones pounding the table about borders.
Long story short, we’re all gonna get laid!