A Monmouth Poll released on Monday July 20, 2015, finds former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is polling just 7 percent with likely Iowa Republican caucus voters. At 7 percent support, Bush is in a distant fourth place, tied with Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Bush trails Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (22 percent), wealthy businessman Donald Trump (13 percent) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (8 percent).
While Bush’s fourth place standing should be concerning enough for his campaign, it may understate how much trouble the former Florida Governor faces ahead in Iowa. Of the 17 Republican candidates polled, Bush is one of only 5 who are viewed unfavorably by Iowa Republicans.
The other GOP candidates who Iowa Republicans dislike are former New York Governor George Pataki, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, South Carolina Governor Lindsey Graham, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. With the possible exception of Chris Christie, none of those individuals are viewed by the media as having any chance whatsoever of winning the Republican nomination, much less a general election.
Just 6 percent of Iowa GOP caucus voters rate Bush as their second choice, meaning that even if one of the current leaders fades, Bush is unlikely to be the candidate who benefits. Iowa Republicans are more likely to support Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio or even Lousiana Governor Bobby Jindal as their back up choice, before they would be willing to back Jeb Bush.
Bush’s national standing with Republican voters is not quite as dismal as his position is with Iowa Republicans. Nationally, Bush has a lukewarm 50 percent favorable to 30 percent unfavorable rating with GOP voters. In Iowa, he is underwater with just 40 percent of Republicans rating him favorably to 42 percent who view him negatively.
Nevertheless, if Bush flounders out of the gate and finishes outside the top three candidates in Iowa, his already flimsy support nationally may evaporate further. Ambivalent Bush supporters will undoubtedly jump onto the bandwagons of other candidates who have more momentum and who speak passionately on the issues that mobilize conservatives.
The media has long treated Jeb Bush like the implicit front-runner in the Republican race, or at the very least, they have lumped him in with the top two or three “serious candidates.” However, as Jeb Bush continues to hemorrhage support in Iowa, it may be time to re-evaluate the tendency to view Bush as a serious candidate. Based on the polling numbers in Iowa, Jeb Bush is looking more and more like a fringe candidate whose family name can’t save him from sinking into irrelevancy.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.