Bush comes in second or third in most polls, and when he has ranked first it hasn’t been by much. There is considerable enthusiasm for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as well as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who many had believed would forgo the race if Bush were to make a White House bid. Bush has doubled down on his positions on education and immigration that are unpopular with conservatives, and as each young Republican contender labels Hillary Clinton “old news,” it only makes Bush seem more stale.
With an official announcement expected soon, Bush’s performance thus far is worrying his supporters more than his rivals. He acknowledged this last week when he laughed off a voter’s suggestion that the GOP nomination could be a coronation for him. “We’ve got 95 people running for president. I’m really intimidating a bunch of folks, aren’t I?” he asked.
Bush doesn’t have a long list of prominent establishment endorsements, and supporters like Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) are intentionally staying quiet so far. Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate whose support every GOP candidate for the presidency seeks, has reportedly dismissed Bush because of remarks former Secretary of State James Baker, a Bush adviser, made about Israel. Bush is so far from formidable he appears to be last on the list of five candidates Charles and David Koch are willing to audition for their billion-dollar support.