A poll of potential New Hampshire voters shows Jeb Bush with a a slight edge over other potential GOP presidential candidates – but also reveals his controversial support for immigration reform is a "deal-killer" for many Republican primary voters.
The Bloomberg Politics/St. Anselm College poll
also shows the former Florida governor has a long way to go to gain the favor of a majority of general election voters.
According to the poll, Bush leads his potential rivals with 16 percent support; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul comes right behind him, with 13 percent, followed by 12 percent for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and 10 percent for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Fourteen percent of likely GOP primary voters said they were unsure.
But the survey also shows how explosive the immigration issue may become for a potential White House run: 41 percent of likely GOP primary voters called his position for "allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in this country" a "deal-killer."
The poll also showed 50 percent of general-election voters have an unfavorable opinion of Bush, compared to 35 percent who view him favorably.
And both Republican and Democratic voters said Bush’s potential candidacy is more based on his family connections to politics than his personal qualities and accomplishments, according to the survey.
The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
On Tuesday, Bush told an audience of 300 supporters Republicans should look at immigration as an opportunity to spur economic growth, a view that continues to put him at odds with conservatives in the party.
"People, the best and brightest around the world, want to come here, so we should fix our immigration system," he said. "We have a chance of having 600,000 first-round draft picks every year."
Reuters contributed to this report.
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