George W. Bush, controversial among conservatives and hated by liberals, now outpolls the Democratic Party’s heir apparent for its 2016 nomination, Hillary Rodham Clinton. A January poll taken by NBC and the Wall Street Journal found the former president slightly more acceptable than the future “Madame President” by 3 percentage points.
The poll asked respondents to say if they have “positive feelings” or “negative feelings” about various political figures. Forty percent said they had positive feelings for Hillary, while 49 percent said their feelings about her were negative, giving Mrs. Clinton a net approval of minus-9 percent. A mere 37 percent of respondents had positive feelings about Bush, but only 43 percent said their feelings were negative, giving him a minus-6 percent rating — not good, but three points better than Hillary.
Former President Bill Clinton had the highest approval, at 9 percent (45 percent positive, 36 percent negative). Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the well-funded-but-struggling establishment candidate, was treading water at minus-27 percent (19 percent positive, 46 percent negative). GOP front-runner and media mogul Donald J. Trump ranked dead last with minus-29 (29 percent positive, 58 percent negative).
The second-and third-place Republicans, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, ranked right in the middle of the pack, with minus-4 percent and plus-2 percent respectively. They also ranked first and second, respectively, when Republican voters where asked which candidate “you could see yourself supporting.”
Could Support — 71 percent
Could Not Support – -25 percent
Could Support — 67
Could Not Support — 28
Could Support — 65
Could Not Support — 34
Cruz’s potential support (at 71 percent) was the highest he has yet reached, while the number of people who said they could not support Trump has fallen considerably from 74 percent last March to 34 percent this month.