Jeb can't win

Last week’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll was only the most recent survey to affirm it—Jeb Bush just isn’t very popular, and as for his presidential prospects, a lot of Americans seem to agree with his mother. The numbers are just hideous for him. He’s viewed more negatively than positively by 31 to 21 percent (just 21 percent positive!); he’s minus-7 on that question among independents. Some other polls in recent months have shown Jeb Bush to be seen less favorably than he was a couple of years ago—that is, as presidential chatter has increased, he’s dropped.

In general, he appears to fare no better against Clinton than any of the other Republicans, and in some polls worse. Look at some of the numbers amassed at the Real Clear Politics site. In a recent Colorado poll, Bush did worse against Clinton than Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Chris Christie. (Paul even led Clinton by five points in this poll, suggesting that the libertarians stoners are all in for him.) In a Wisconsin survey, Clinton led Huckabee by 12 and Bush and Paul both by 11. In a national Marist poll from April 15, Clinton led Paul Ryan by eight, Christie by 11, Huckabee by 13, Paul by 14, Cruz by 15, and Bush by 16. That’s right—dead last. Behind Cruz. Yes, we’re talking margin of error stuff here, but still, when they crunched the numbers, Bush was dead last…

Bush doesn’t have problems just against Clinton. The NBC/Journal survey found that among “animated partisans,” 58 percent liked Paul and only 44 percent viewed Bush favorably. A WMUR New Hampshire poll recently found Bush in a distant fourth place behind Paul, Christie, and Ryan. More typically in GOP primary polling, Bush is in the first tier—but he is never clearly in front, the way an establishment candidate is supposed to be.