Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign would no doubt love to win the Iowa caucuses, but it’s never seen the Hawkeye State as a must-win contest. Iowa Republican caucus-goers aren’t Bush’s natural constituency, and besides, the New Hampshire primary follows soon after, and Team Jeb has long seen the Granite State as something of a firewall – a win it can count on to buttress the campaign no matter what happens in the other early nominating states.
Except, New Hampshire is no longer a sure thing for Bush, who’s seen his support falter badly in recent weeks. But if all else fails, at least the former governor still has his home state of Florida to fall back on, right? Not according to the latest results from Public Policy Polling.
PPP’s new Florida poll finds that a plurality of voters in the state think that both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio should drop out.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.The lack of enthusiasm for Bush and Rubio’s candidacies is reflected in the Republican primary numbers in the state. Donald Trump has a wide lead at 28% with Ben Carson second at 17%. Bush (13%) and Rubio (10%) can only achieve 3rd and 4th place standings in their home state.
PPP also found that only 36% of Floridians have a favorable impression of Jeb Bush.
As we’ve seen in recent cycles, candidates who are unpopular in their own home states – Mitt Romney and Al Gore come to mind – tend to fare poorly in presidential campaigns. The fact that Bush and Rubio aren’t even in the top two in Florida is emblematic of candidacies that are far from where they expected to be at this point.
And what about the fact that nearly half of Floridians want Bush and Rubio to quit? That obviously isn’t one of the voters’ choices, but it speaks to a general hostility for the home-state candidates.
It’d be one thing if Floridians, en masse, were saying, “I’m inclined to vote for someone else, but I generally like Bush and Rubio.” But that’s not the message here. Instead, we’re looking at a dynamic in which quite a few Floridians are actually pretty hostile towards the Floridians seeking national office.