Jeb Bush faces an uphill battle to win the support of the most conservative members of his party in his presumed 2016 bid for president, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
While 49 percent of Republicans tell pollsters they could support the former Florida governor in the primary, 42 percent said they could not. Bush enjoys favored status among the GOP establishment and generous donors but is less popular with the tea party faction of his party.
According to the poll results, just three other potential Republican candidates
face a more challenging environment: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, real estate mogul Donald Trump and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Some 74 percent said they could not see themselves supporting Trump; 57 percent were not in Christie's camp; and 51 percent did not support Graham.
The plentiful Republican field stiffens the competition, according to CNN
, which reports that potential candidates such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has successfully battled unions in the historically blue Badger State, make it tougher on Bush to poach hard-line conservatives.
Bush has spent the past several months touting his conservative credentials to a variety of Republican groups, including at last month's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where he told an audience that he's a "practicing, reform-minded conservative," Reuters reported
He has faced a bevy of criticism within his party for his support of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants and for the national education standards known as Common Core.
Bush and his advisers characterize his style as "inclusive conservatism," according to The New York Times
, a position they say "will be crucial to win the party's nomination and still remain viable for the general election."
Striking a tone of harmony within the divided Republican Party, Bush said the GOP needs to come together if they want to occupy the White House.
The campaign, he said at CPAC, "should be about getting to 50 percent, not trying to tear down the differences between the 35 or the 40."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.