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December 28, 2014

Early Poll Finds Bush Surge After Bush Pre-Announcement

Gah! Updated Poll (12:24pm): I was trying to use all of CNN's choices (plus Romney) and messed that up. New poll is now up. If you already voted, vote again.

Original post:

Early polling is not a predictor of who the Republican candidate will be or even which Republican candidates will run in the primary. Nor does it predict who will win the general election. That is not the purpose of early polling.

The purpose of early polling is to get a sense of where people's minds and money are at when the poll is taken. Yes, that includes name recognition, which is bizarrely dismissed as unimportant even though it factors quite a bit into who has the fundraising juice to make credible bids for the White House (more on this below).

Anyway, as of last week, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie were out ahead of the pack, at least for those names polled (notice anyone missing?):

There's a couple noteworthy things here.

First, it's no surprise to see the Bush surge since he just announced his intention to announce his intention to run for president, or something. As the only candidate sticking his hand out right now, except Sen. Paul maybe, he's bound to peel off some respondents.

Second, check out question 35 (pdf). The tendency of voters to emphasize electability will once again be a big factor in voter choices, which may explain why Bush and Christie are out ahead of more polarizing potential candidates. Although Bush and Christie remain public figures, they haven't exactly been rushing to get into the papers and onto the Sunday talk shows.

Third, the margin of error here is plus or minus 4.5 points, meaning the actual electorate is likely to have Bush out ahead and then every other named candidate in about the same spot. In other words, lest there be any confusion, no one is out yet (except Portman, who said he isn't running), although that is not to say they all have an even chance.

On that point, some of the named potential candidates have the fundraising chops to pull off a credible bid and some do not. The no question, top-tier candidates in the power-fundraiser category includes Bush and Christie, and also Gov. Perry, based on his 2012 take. (BTW, do you notice the commonality there?) Folks that struggled with fundraising in 2012, like Sen. Santorum, are not credible candidates from a fundraising standpoint. But then we've got unknown quantities like Gov. Walker and Sens. Cruz and Paul. All three have national profiles and all three are expected to run (assuming Paul can get his legal issues sorted). Once the race actually gets started and the public has a better idea of their attractiveness to donors, expect to see them get a heavy bounce from electability-minded voters.

Alright, I was planning to start running our AOSHQ straw poll posts again after the race gets started, but what the hell, let's see where people are today.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:02 PM

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