Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is emerging as the Republican front-runner in an early look at possible presidential primaries in the critical swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. However, even with Mitt Romney out of the race, Bush’s only clear dominance is in Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.
In contrast, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the choice of more than 50 percent of Democrats in each state, the Quinnipiac University poll finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of those three states.
If Clinton doesn’t run, Vice President Joseph Biden leads the Democratic pack in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, with tallies ranging from 28 percent to 39 percent.
With Romney in the race, Bush takes 30 percent of Republicans in Florida, 9 percent in Ohio and 10 percent in Pennsylvania. With Romney out, Bush gets 32 percent of Florida Republicans, 10 percent in Ohio and 12 percent in Pennsylvania. Other Republican contenders are close, or even ahead in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“Mitt Romney’s withdrawal from the presidential race, at first blush, has no statistical benefit in Florida, Ohio or Pennsylvania for any candidate for the Republican presidential nomination,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. “From the beginning of this survey, we asked Romney supporters who they would vote for if the 2012 standard-bearer bowed out, so we are able to measure the results of that decision. Looking at the final tally, his supporters moved evenly to a variety of the remaining candidates.
“Taken as a whole, there is no clear leader for the Republican presidential nomination in these three critical swing states. Former Gov. Jeb Bush is way ahead in Florida with almost a third of the vote, but no candidate is in comparable situation in Ohio or Pennsylvania,” Brown said. “In fact, four candidates are in low double-digits in Ohio and just three in Pennsylvania. Bush is the only one in double digits in all three states, but barely so.
“The Democratic race is the exact opposite. Hillary Clinton has an overwhelming lead and currently no serious challengers. Should she decide not to run, the field could grow like a weed. If she stays in, the numbers indicate she has nothing to worry about when it comes to the Democratic nomination.”
Here are the details on Florida:
With Romney out of the race, Bush leads among Florida Republicans with 32 percent; followed by fellow Floridian, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, with 15 percent; and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 11 percent. No other candidate tops 9 percent and 8 percent remain undecided.
Clinton leads the Democratic pack in Florida with 61 percent, followed by Vice President Biden with 11 percent and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts with 9 percent. No other candidate tops 2 percent and 10 percent are undecided.
If Clinton bows out, Biden leads with 39 percent, followed by Warren with 22 percent. No other candidate is over 3 percent and 23 percent are undecided.
“Former Gov. Jeb Bush’s home state lead among Republicans is impressive,” Brown said. “With U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio getting 15 percent, almost half the Florida GOP electorate backs a home-state candidate. If Rubio, who has yet to make up his mind, decides not to run, that would give Bush a huge leg up in the nation’s most populous swing state. If Rubio does run it will set up a home-state battle between a mentor, Bush, and his protege, Rubio.”