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Jeb Bush’s Flash in the Pan

By: Contributor - Jan 2, 2015, 8:16 am

EspañolCNN’s most recent telephone survey gives former Florida Governor Jeb Bush frontrunner status for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential candidacy. Meanwhile, a Rasmussen Reports’ poll shows 53 percent of likely voters reject the idea of Jeb Bush as president.

Despite his defense of big-government policies, 23 percent of the 453 respondents who participated in the CNN poll claim to be more likely to support Jeb Bush for the GOP’s 2016 president nomination than any other candidate. Yet, when asked specifically whether Bush should be the GOP’s nominee in 2016, only 33 percent of the Rasmussen Reports respondents said yes, while 34 percent said no.

As major publications focus on Bush getting the most support, while Kentucky Senator Rand Paul tied with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for fourth place, they are burying the much less covered Rasmussen Reports’ poll.

Establishment media outlet CNN is handing establishment candidate Jeb Bush frontrunner status. (JB Facebook)
Establishment media outlet CNN is handing establishment candidate Jeb Bush frontrunner status. (JB Facebook)

This steering of the narrative often works when the subject is politics. After all, the fight for power has always had a lot more to do with popularity contests and less to do with the issues.

Since CNN feels confident enough to call Jeb Bush the GOP frontrunner, will likely Republican voters feel as confident about supporting other candidates?

Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me

A majority of the CNN survey respondents claimed they would prefer to support a politician who’s more likely to beat a Democratic candidate than one who agrees with them on everything that matters. Looking closely at the numbers, however, it’s safe to say that most likely Republican voters would not support Bush, due to his spending record as Florida’s governor and his advocacy for the Common Core education initiative.

In fact, only a small fraction of likely voters would feel comfortable supporting him over those issues. When reviewed carefully, the CNN survey corroborates the Rasmussen Reports’ findings: an irrelevant number of likely voters actually support Jeb Bush.

On the other hand, the wave of support that politicians like Senator Rand Paul have been getting from Republican voters across the country is the result of another phenomenon: more people are discussing what the true foundation of the conservative brand should look and sound like. This debate has often led to fierce, and accurate, attacks against what is now branded as neoconservatism.

Unfortunately for GOP dinosaurs, support for a growing federal government — especially when it comes to foreign policy and criminal justice — is waning within the party. That means establishment types like Bush may offer themselves as potential candidates, but only long enough for us to see them fall. As a more libertarian mindset makes its way into the GOP, candidates like Bush seem quaint, to say the least.

Admittedly, there is still a danger in focusing on and hyping the enticing appeals of CNN, Fox, and other news giants. If people were to only listen to these organizations, they would be more inclined to support whomever CNN claims to be the most likely candidate, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Edited by Fergus Hodgson.