Since Mitt Romney began making conspicuous overtures indicating plans to wage a third campaign to occupy the White House, his favorability numbers have trumped fellow Republican establishment idol Jeb Bush.
The results of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
of 800 adults conducted last week showed that 52 percent of all Republicans view Romney in a positive light, compared with 37 percent who feel the same way about Bush, the former Florida governor whose father and brother were both U.S. presidents.
In mid-December, Bush announced that he was considering running for president in 2016 and on Jan. 1, The New York Times
reported that Bush had resigned from all the corporate and nonprofit board positions he held, a clear indication of his plans to forge ahead. The early Republican field looks crowded, with a bevy of other likely candidates, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, among others.
But between a November poll and one taken Jan. 14-17, Bush has dropped 7 percentage points within his own party. Forty-four percent of Republicans previously viewed him positively. Romney also posts more than 20 percentage points better among “self-identified tea party supporters and core Republican voters” than Bush.
A CBS News
poll released Sunday found that a resounding 59 percent of Republicans said they are open to another Romney bid, compared with 26 percent who did not favor it.
That same poll showed 50 percent of Republicans would like to see Bush run for president and 27 percent said he should stay out of the race.
Bush has become a target for the tea partyers who disagree with his positions on comprehensive immigration reform and the Common Core, federally standardized education benchmarks.
The overarching belief is that if both Bush and Romney run, they will vie for the same fundraising dollars from the establishment wing of the party.
Romney, who until recently has been insistent that he would not run for president again — he lost the GOP nomination to Sen. John McCain in 2008 and in the general election to Barack Obama in 2012 — is at or near the top of many polls of potential Republican presidential candidates.
"Many conservatives say he’s been proven right on foreign policy and a host of other issues that he ran on in 2012," according to The Hill.
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