If a serious challenge to early GOP presidential favorite Jeb Bush has to come from his right, or by peeling off his mainstream Republican support, then both Chris Christie and Marco Rubio are bad bets to capture the party's 2016 nomination, The New York Times reports.
With Mitt Romney officially out, and the Republican elite backing former Florida Gov. Bush, New Jersey Gov. Christie and Florida Sen. Rubio face new difficulties and "a tough path" in trying to stop Bush's momentum and create their own, writes Nate Cohn of The Upshot, the Times' blog on politics and data.
Because Bush "now occupies a large space in the center-left of his party," according to Cohn, Bush's "likeliest formidable challenger would come from his right."
Neither Christie or Rubio fully qualify — and for some of the same reasons that conservatives also mistrust Bush, he writes.
"Mr. Rubio was one of the senators who led the charge for an immigration overhaul in 2013, while Mr. Christie has his own problems on immigration as well as on Obamacare, not to mention his history with President Obama himself," writes Cohn.
The alternative is to go at Bush head-on by drawing away the considerable support he enjoys from the former Romney backers who constitute the party's financial and political power base.
Both are trying that approach, "but neither candidate seems as well positioned to win the nomination as Mr. Bush," writes Cohn.
"They could still do so, of course," writes Cohn, "especially if Mr. Bush turns out to be a weaker candidate than he now appears. Yet both Mr. Rubio and Mr. Christie have a tough path."
A new Quinnipiac poll of three swing states — Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida — finds that Bush fares better than any other potential GOP contender against the prohibitive Democratic favorite, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
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