Poll: Just 18% of conservatives want Jeb Bush to run in 2016

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Polls,2016 Elections,Rand Paul,Campaigns,Chris Christie,Jeb Bush

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, considering a 2016 presidential bid, does not have the support of his party's base, with just one in four Republicans eager for him to run and an even worse 18 percent of self-identified conservatives backing his bid.

With the GOP considering a slew of conservative potential candidates, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, a new Economist/YouGov poll found that among the right, Bush is considered too moderate.

A word bubble produced by the poll showed the hurdles he faces entering the presidential race. The acronym RINO, or “Republican in name only,” is prominent, as is “legacy” and “Bush,” and the polling firm said that the public isn’t keen on having a third Bush presidency.

It is the latest from the polling duo that sizes up the standing of key 2016 candidates. It is a general poll of 1,000 Americans that included about 340 self-identified conservatives and 223 Republicans. While not a huge number, the pollster indicated that it was large enough to size up the candidates among the party faithful.

The key Bush findings:

-- 26 percent of Republicans want Bush to run. That puts him behind Paul, at 36 percent, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 30 percent. Some 35 percent of Republicans do not want Bush to run.

— 43 percent of conservatives do not want Bush to run, while 18 percent do.

— Republicans are split on his ideology, with 33 percent saying he is a moderate and 32 percent a conservative. Among conservatives, 36 percent said that Bush is moderate, and 28 percent a conservative.

“Bush’s ideology — or lack of it — forms part of his overall Image,” said the poll memo. “‘Moderate’ is one of the positive words people use to describe Bush; but it is also one of the words used by those who have an unfavorable view of the former governor. So is the acronym 'RINO,' Republican in name only. ‘Conservative’ appears hardly at all among those with positive views of Bush, but it is there among those who dislike him,” it added.

The poll suggests that Bush would be the favorite of establishment Republicans, not those looking for a harder edge, as he saw recently when he was attacked for saying that illegal immigrants come to America out of an “act of love” to help their families.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.