We're more than a year and a half away from the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, but of course that won't stop political reporters from writing stories about that first-in-the-nation exercise in presidential politics. So with that qualifier out of the way, the most conclusive news coming out of a new Quinnipiac poll
of Iowa voters released this morning is that they're not so keen on Jeb Bush as a potential 2016 nominee.
Bush trails Hillary Clinton in a potential one-on-one matchup by 13 percentage points, 49-36 percent. But the bigger news is that among the five Republicans listed in terms of their favorability rankings, Bush comes dead last, with a negative 28-36 split. Amongst independents, in Iowa his ranking is also underwater at 22-35 percent.
Bush's reputation amongst conservatives has certainly taken a hit in 2014 for his unflinching support for the national educational standards known as Common Core. That education initiative has proven so toxic amongst the conservative wing of the GOP (and also amongst some liberals) that GOP governors in South Carolina, Louisiana and Oklahoma have dropped the standards altogether, while Bush has doubled down in embracing it.
And some Tea Party members don't like the corporate connections
that Bush has made on the education front. His foundation has received $5 million from the Gates Foundation, and it gets donations from companies in the education industry, including Pearson and News Corp.
But his support of Common Core doesn't explain why independents are so down on the former Florida governor, who hasn't ran for office going on 12 years now.
Quinnipiac pollsters ignored Bush in their statement touting the poll, instead concentrating on the fact that Hillary Clinton is now leading Chris Christie by just eight percentage points (44-36 percent) in Iowa, when a similar poll taken three months ago (when Christie's "BridgeGate scandal" was at an apex) had the New Jersey governor trailing Mrs. Clinton in a potential 2016 match down 13 points, 48-35.
Iowa voters give Mrs. Clinton a 52-41 percent favorability, compared to 41-34 percent for Mike Huckabee and divided scores of 34-32 percent for Rand Paul, 35-35 percent for Paul Ryan and 34-36 percent for Chris Christie.
Bush has publicly stated earlier this year that he would not rule out a presidential run, but wouldn't make a decision until closer to the end of this year.