You have to give a certain amount of credit to politicians who are able to maintain a level of consistency, if nothing else. Stopping in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush was faced with yet another series of questions on the subject which seems to have sunk his prospects with conservatives this cycle. When asked yet again about a possible path to citizenship for illegals and a chance to “come out of the shadows” in an orderly fashion, Bush doubled down and let all of you haters out there know that he’s the grown up in the room here.
Jeb Bush said he would be open to allowing illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and said his position on immigration is “the grown-up plan.”
The former Florida governor, a vocal supporter of granting legal status to some undocumented immigrants as part of a broader immigration overhaul, offered a robust defense of his immigration policy during a discussion with local business leaders here.
“It’s easy to say, ‘Well, anything you propose is amnesty,’ but that’s not a plan,” Mr. Bush said during a discussion with local business leaders here. “That’s a sentiment, that’s not a plan. I think the best plan, the most realistic plan, the grown up plan, if you will, is once you control the border and you’re confident it’s not going to be another magnet, is to say, ‘Let’s let these folks achieve earned legal status where they work, where they come out of the shadows.’”
Later, during a brief exchange with reporters, Mr. Bush said he could also be supportive of a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally – as he did at one time – but said there currently isn’t sufficient political support for it.
It’s an interesting strategy to be sure, and one which leads us to believe that Jeb honestly believes he can run the table in the primaries without any serious conservative support. Our last survey of you, our readers, shows Bush standing steady with, er… one percent support. This is relatively unchanged since the beginning of the winter. And who knows? Maybe he’s not entirely crazy… the RCP average currently has him in second place behind Walker by a fingernail, well inside the margin of error. Of course, at this point in the cycle these polls are all over the place.
The scattershot nature of these numbers should be enough of a warning about taking them too seriously. McClatchy and Fox News actually have Bush in the lead, though the Fox numbers are getting a little stale at this point. PPP has Walker well out in front, and for some reason CNN thinks Huck is running away with it. But since we’re on the topic of wide ranging opinions, national views regarding the rest of the candidates versus the conservative snapshot you find at Hot Air is rather fascinating also.
Really, the only area of national vs conservative consensus at the moment seems to be Walker. He’s a runaway favorite here and manages to be at the top of the pack, albeit with a much more slender margin, among the rest of the nation. Bush, as already noted, is completely upside down. The nation at large sees him as at least a viable first choice while he’s barely a blip on the radar for conservatives. Ted Cruz is the only strong challenger to Walker here, but nationally he’s hovering near the back end of the main pack at 4.4%. We get back to some sort of parity with Marco Rubio. He’s in third place with our readers, but it’s a very distant third. His seventh place finish in the RCP poll of polls sounds a lot worse, but he’s got a still almost respectable 4.8% which isn’t that far off from the 6% he pulls at Hot Air.
The two other biggest disparities at this point seem to be Ben Carson and Chris Christie. The New Jersey Governor is still seen as at least a possibility among Republicans nationally, though he’s fallen a long way, but among the Hot Gas crowd, he managed an entire four votes out of more than 1,500. Carson didn’t do much better here with 12 votes, but nationally he’s in 4th place with more than 10%. (And that figure definitely keeps him in the competitive hunt along with Walker and Bush.)
Getting back to Jeb, both immigration and Common Core seem to be his downfall among the faithful. Statements like this one from New Hampshire aren’t going to do him any favors either. But could it disqualify him? I seem to recall seeing a pretty huge revolt against Romney last time, but he still made it across the finish line in fairly strong shape. Food for thought at least.
Related: Daniel Doherty at Townhall offers his own thoughts on the recent polling here. He thinks pretty highly of you guys!