Jeb Bush Is Seriously Tanking Among Primary Voters

The only good news for Jeb Bush this morning is that the calendar still reads September. That means the Iowa caucuses are a healthy five months away. Which is important, because right now Jeb is seriously tanking among early state GOP voters. We're talking Philadelphia-76ers-looking-for-a-number-one-draft-pick levels of tanking.

Just 6 percent of early primary voters now say they support Jeb Bush — a drop of more than half since the last time the New York Times and CBS polled those states last month.

The new poll, which will be released in its entirety tonight, shows that Jeb's support has plunged since the first major GOP debate last month. When the news agencies sampled early voters last month, they found 13 percent backed the former Florida governor. His dip to single digits was matched only by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose support tumbled from 10 percent to just 2 percent.

Where did all of those ex-Bush backers go? A lot have switched to another Florida man aiming for the White House: neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who is suddenly in second place behind Donald Trump. Carson jumped all the way from 6 percent support to a robust 23 percent in the poll; Trump mostly held steady, from 24 percent to 27.

What exactly is going on with Jeb? His campaign, at least, hopes it's a simple problem easily fixed by February: namely, that voters somehow still don't really know who Bush is. 

"People have a lot of curiosity of Jeb Bush, but outside of Florida, they don't know much about him," media consultant Mike Murphy told the Tampa Bay Times this morning. "They know he's from Florida, many know he was the governor, some know he was interested in education policy. That's about it."

Jeb does have one reason for optimism: He's sitting on an incredible war chest of campaign cash, and in American politics, enough money can fix just about any problem.

That's why Jeb's super PAC is about to buy $24 million in TV ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina aimed at getting primary voters excited again about the prospect of voting for another Bush. 

Can he catch Trump and Carson by February? We'll soon find out just how much love campaign cash can buy.
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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