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Support for Jeb Bush grows in new WSJ/NBC News poll

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Potential support for Jeb Bush has edged upward in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on Sunday, with the share of Republican primary voters who said they were open to his candidacy rising to 75 percent in June from 70 percent in April and just 49 percent in March.

Preliminary numbers from the survey, which will be released in full on Monday night, also show that Marco Rubio has the highest margin of support among Republicans, with 74 percent who could see themselves backing him and 15 percent who couldn’t (+59) – unchanged from April’s poll.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to announce his presidential bid next month, has plenty of upside with GOP voters: 57 percent could see themselves supporting him, versus 19 percent who couldn’t (+38), but there’s another 21 percent who say they don’t know his name.

Bush announced his candidacy last Monday, and observers expected him to get a bounce of some sort from that announcement, which took place just as the news agencies are surveying GOP voters.

Among the next tier of GOP presidential candidates, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson and Carly Florina have all gained what the pollsters call “significant ground” with GOP primary voters since they announced their candidacy for the party’s presidential nomination over the past two months. Among Republican voters who now say they are open to supporting Fiorina, that number has now jumped from 17 percent in April to 31 percent this month, about even with  the 29 percent who said they weren’t open to supporting her.

The number of Republicans who said they could support  Dr. Carson and former Arkansas Governor Huckabee, grew by 11 and 13 percentage points, respectively. All three formally entered the race in early May, just after the NBC and the Journal conducted their last poll in April.

The other Republicans to enjoy a noticeable bounce in between Journal/NBC News surveys were former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose tentative support grew by eight percentage points, and former Pennsylvania Sen.  Rick Santorum and Donald Trump, who both saw nine percentage-point bumps.

However two-thirds of voters also say that they could never support Trump, who announced his candidacy with much fanfare last Tuesday in New York City.

Meanwhile, the number of Republicans who say they could potentially support Rand Paul dropped by 10 percent, from 59-49 percent.

The poll of 1,000 adults had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. For the 236 GOP primary voters surveyed, the margin of error was plus or minus 6.38 percentage points. It was conducted from June 14-June 18.

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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