Potential 2016 candidates Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney have earned plenty of headlines after publicly acknowledging that they’re revving up likely presidential campaigns. But, so far, they haven’t gained positive marks from the public, according to the newest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
In fact, both candidates have lost ground since pollsters last measured Americans’ feelings towards them – including a dip from members of their own party.
Just 27% of Americans now offer a positive rating for Romney, the Republican party’s nominee in 2012, compared with 40% who give him negative marks. And just over half of Republicans – 52% – give him a thumbs up, while 15% disagree.
In September of last year, when Romney was widely expected NOT to seek the presidency again, his ratings stood at 32% positive/ 39% negative. With Republicans, that split was 60% positive/ 13% negative.
While former Florida governor Jeb Bush is not quite as well-known as Romney – 13% of respondents don’t know his name – he’s also seen a drop in popularity since announcing that he’s “actively exploring” a 2016 run.
Just 19% of Americans now give Bush a positive rating, while 32% assess him negatively. His fans include just 37% of Republicans, versus 15% offer a poor assessment of him.
By comparison, it was 26% positive/33% negative last November. Among Republicans at that time, Bush’s rating stood at 44% positive to 12% negative.
While Romney’s overall negative rating is higher than Bush’s, the former GOP nominee enjoys more favor with conservatives than Bush, whose backing for comprehensive immigration reform and the Common Core education curriculum have made him a lightning rod for anti-establishment ire.
Forty-five percent of self-described conservatives and 52% of Tea Party supporters view Romney positively in the latest survey.
But just 30% of conservatives and 29% of Tea Party backers say the same of Bush.
While both Republican candidates post a net-negative rating, likely Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton currently enjoys an overall positive assessment from the American public.
Forty-five percent of Americans rate her positively, while 37% rate her negatively.
Among Democrats, three-quarters give Clinton a thumbs up, with just 7% disagreeing.