How bad can Jeb Bush's presidential campaign get? The one-time frontrunner has spent this week trotting out a hashtag as custom-made for Internet mockery as "Hotline Bling" and putting all his hopes in a new book about how awesome he was at email in the early '00s.
Voters have just about seen enough — even in his home state. For the second time this week a statewide poll has found Jeb gasping for air in fifth place in the Sunshine State, and the latest voter sample has even more dire news: Jeb is now in single digits in Florida.
The new poll comes via Survey USA commissioned by Bay News 9 in Tampa, and it's startlingly terrible for Jeb. Not only did respondents overwhelmingly back Donald Trump, who pulled in 37 percent support, they supported Ben Carson (17 percent), Marco Rubio (16 percent), and Ted Cruz (10 percent) ahead of the ex-governor.
As for Jeb, the survey found just 7 percent of those likely to vote in the GOP primary want Bush as the nominee. Seven percent! That's within the margin of error of the other two bottom feeders in the poll, Carly Fiorina (3 percent) and John Kasich (3 percent). Only Mike Huckabee's zero percent poll was significantly worse.
Jeb's campaign tried to get ahead of this week's polls by spinning reporters that his comeback trail is going to take time, as in this Tweet from his communications director.
FYI political press corps. Jeb's going to have a few weeks of bad polls. Comebacks take time, we recognize and are prepared for that.— Tim Miller (@Timodc) November 2, 2015
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That may be true, but so far those strategies have been more comedic fodder than comeback fuel. Bush's new campaign slogan, "Jeb Can Fix It," spawned hundreds of Twitter jokes since debuting earlier this week.
His other grand strategy? Releasing a book called "Reply All," that's all about his email adventures as governor of Florida. It's a book full of emails from Jeb. Seriously. "What’s worse than getting a “reply-all” email?" Salon asked. "Reading an entire book of Jeb’s."
Many pundits pointed to Marco Rubio's Mortal Kombat-worthy finishing move in the last debate as the moment Bush's campaign went from life support to flatlined. These new polls aren't the final say in this campaign, but they're making that narrative look ever more inevitable. And it's going to take more than half-assed hashtags and regurgitated emails to convince voters otherwise.