Donald Trump Is Annihilating Jeb Bush in Florida

You already know Jeb Bush is struggling. He's scuffling so badly that his mom is pleading his case in campaign ads and DJ Khaled is jumping on late-night TV to try to light a spark under the former governor.  

But even the most cynical Jeb hater had to do a double-take at the latest battleground polling out from CBS News and YouGov. Just look at these results: 

That's right: If CBS and YouGov's numbers are even close to accurate, Trump is laying an unholy beatdown on Bush in his own home state. There's plenty of bad news in that poll for other contenders — Trump's 41 percent is more than double Floridian Marco Rubio's support from what should be his home base.

But it's impossible to ignore that Bush-Trump disparity: 41 percent to 4 percent — a tenfold difference.

Yes, there are problems with YouGov's polling. As Marc Caputo points out at Politico, the polling service relies on internet responses, a methodology critics say oversamples outsiders who don't actually show up to the ballot box on Election Day — exactly the type of person who is likely to scorn Jeb and pump for Trump, in other words. Nate Silver, meanwhile, gives YouGov just a C+ in his ongoing ranking of polling firms based on its performance thus far

But a gap that large in any survey by a reputable national news organization is impossible to discount altogether. If Jeb can't break single-digit enthusiasm in the state that twice elected him governor — even with the nation's most well-funded super PAC fighting his battles on the airwaves — it raises very serious questions about his viability elsewhere.
So far, most pundits aren't looking too hard at Florida for Marco or Jeb. The results in Iowa and New Hampshire will be far more telling, with some arguing that Bush needs to pull out a shock victory in New Hampshire to even stay in the race

But CBS's polling doesn't lend much hope in any of the battleground states to either Florida hopeful. Bush has ceded Iowa already, but Rubio hasn't, and even with a Des Moines Register endorsement in his pocket, CBS finds him trailing Trump 39 percent to 13 percent in the Hawkeye State (with Ted Cruz a close second at 34 percent). In New Hampshire, where Bush might be making his final stand, CBS finds him running in fifth, with 7 percent support; Trump comes in at 34 percent, with Cruz and Rubio nearly tied at 16 and 14 percent, respectively.

Yes, this kind of polling is inexact — especially in a race as complicated as this GOP primary. Maybe if Jeb shocks the world and wins New Hampshire, his Sunshine State support will come out of the woodwork and make itself known before the March primary here. If Rubio does well in either state, his backers might start beating the drums in his home state. 

But for now, Bush might want to cue up that DJ Khaled clip and try to find some keys to success, ASAP.
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink