Jeb Not Burning It Up in New Hampshire Just Yet

Since we took a look at the internals of early GOP presidential polling from Iowa yesterday, I guess we should give equal time to New Hampshire, where a fresh WMUR/University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll is out.

I feel reasonably sure most of the media attention for this poll will follow WMUR’s headline: “Bush Leads, Rubio Up, Christie Down, in new WMUR Poll.” But following my own advice about early polls, let’s look at the more significant internals (or at least those internals the pollster has shared with us).

The good news for Jeb Bush is that his favorable/unfavorable ratings in this state the pundits all say he should and must win are not underwater as they have consistently been in Iowa. The bad news is that he’s still less popular, despite being universally “known,” than most of his serious rivals. He’s at 45/34; Marco Rubio’s at 60/16; Rand Paul: 51/31; Scott Walker: 50/14. Even Ted Cruz is doing a bit better than Jebbie, at 44/29. Mike Huckabee, universally thought to have little or no chance in NH, is almost exactly even with Bush in favorability, at 45/34.

Unlike the Iowa polls I’ve seen so far, this one directly asks likely GOP primary voters about their perceptions of candidates’ general election strength, and there Jeb gets relatively good news in leading the field with 27%. But such perceptions, of course, will be affected greatly by general election polls.

All in all, this reinforces the impression that Jeb’s got his work cut out for him even in a state he’s supposed to more or less have in the bag. And BTW, his “horse-race” number in the Granite State is at a less than impressive 15%, with Rubio, Walker and Paul all in double digits right behind him.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.