Although the big headlines coming out of the Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday afternoon were all about Donald Trump leading the rest of the GOP presidential field by double digits, it also indicates that Jeb Bush‘ month-long momentum may be ebbing slightly.
Trump leads the field with 24 points in the national survey, Scott Walker is second with 13 percent, and Bush is third at 12 percent.
Mike Huckabee is fourth in the race with 8 percent, Marco Rubio is fifth at 7 percent, Ben Carson and Rand Paul are at 6 percent, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry are at 3 percent, and John Kasich and Bobby Jindal are at 1 percent.
An important caveat on the Trump rating. The poll was taken for four days last week: Thursday through Sunday. On Sunday, the day after Trump’s comment on John McCain not being a war hero went viral to a slew of negative commentary, his numbers slumped to single-digits.
The poll also brings down Bush a notch. The former Florida governor has been polling strong the past month, in the weeks since his June 15 presidential candidacy announcement. In most national surveys for the past couple of weeks, he has been 1-2 with Trump.
His drop to third place in this survey may indicate less a reduction in popularity for Bush than with the explanation that Walker is enjoying a bump after his official entrance into the race last week, with the poll taken just days later.
Looking deeper into the poll, however, conveys some concern for Team Bush.
He is still viewed skeptically by some Republicans. Twenty-two percent of Republicans say Bush’s views on most issues are too liberal for them. In comparison, only 17 percent of Republicans say Trump’s views are too liberal for them.
And while a majority (62 percent) of Republicans polled say they definitely would not vote for Trump in the general election, an alarming 44 percent say they would not vote for Bush in the general election.
The poll was taken before Bush’s Tallahassee speech Monday that had to warm the hearts of conservatives everywhere. Among the bullet points was a recommendation for swift and permanent cuts to federal agencies, specifically endorsing a “three out, one in” policy of replacing only every third federal employee who exits the government with the exception of “vital” areas such as national security.
The Post-ABC News poll was conducted July 16-19 among a random national sample of 1,002 adults, including landline and cellphone respondents. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.