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New PPP survey says Jeb Bush ‘continues to really struggle with voters on the right’

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A national poll released by Public Policy Polling on Wednesday afternoon shows Donald Trump leading the field of GOP presidential contenders, but his descent may be beginning.

Trump leads the field with 19 percent, followed closely by Scott Walker at 17 percent. Jeb Bush was next at 12 percent, Marco Rubio and Dr. Ben Carson at 10 percent, Mike Huckabee at 8 percent, with Ted Cruz, Carly Florina and Rand Paul at 4 percent. John Kasich and Chris Christie are at 3 percent, and Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum are at 1 percent. Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki are at less than 1 percent.

But inside the numbers there is concern for Jeb Bush. Just like the ABC News/Washington Post poll published on Monday night, Bush is still a hard sell with conservative voters.

PPP writes about Bush that “Among ‘very conservative’ primary voters, only 30 percent see him favorably to 50 percent with an unfavorable opinion. Only 5 percent of voters within that group say Bush is their choice for the nomination, putting him in 7th place. “

Trump’s lead comes despite the fact that only 22 percent of Republicans agree with the comments he made about John McCain over the weekend compared to 50 percent who disagree.

Trump’s narrow 2 percent lead over Walker indicates that the McCain comments have hurt; the poll was conducted after Trump’s comments on McCain went viral. In the ABC/WaPo poll on Monday in which he led by 11 points, most of that polling was conducted before Trump made those remarks.

Among moderate Republican voters, Trump leads Bush, 22 percent-19 percent, with Rubio third at 13 percent.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton leads with 57 percent to 22 percent for Bernie Sanders, 5 percent for Jim Webb, 3 percent for Lincoln Chafee, and 2 percent for Martin O’Malley. PPP indicates that this does represent some tightening compared to a month ago– Clinton’s gone from 65 percent to 57 percent, with Sanders gaining from 9 percent to 22 percent. Martin O’Malley’s announcement bump has also faded, with his support dropping from 5 percent to 2 percent.

Clinton leads all of the potential Republican candidates by anywhere from 3 to 13 points. The Republican who comes closest to Clinton is Rand Paul, who trails by 3 at 45/42. Also coming close are Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker, all of whom trail by an identical 5-point margin at 46/41.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 1,087 voters nationally, including 524 Republican primary voters and 496 Democratic primary voters, on July 20 and 21. The margin of error for the overall survey is +/-3.0 percent, for the Republicans it’s +/-4.3 percent, and for the Democrats it’s +/-4.4 percent. Eighty percent of participants responded via the phone, while 20 percent of respondents who did not have landlines conducted the survey over the Internet.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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