It’s the “Mysterious Jeb Bush Poll” as Slate puts it.
Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times notes: “It doesn’t necessarily mean anything beyond a public pollster looking for an intriguing peg for attention or a wishful thinker aiming to coax a late entry into the race by a stronger GOP candidate. But given the hunger out there for a nominee with stature and impeccable conservative credentials, get ready for another boomlet in Jeb speculation.”
After all, it would be too late for Bush to enter the race, right? Everyone has been told that the field is set. And indeed, in several primary states qualifying has closed. But New Hampshire allows voters to write-in any name they choose. And most party caucuses either don’t have a ballot or have a pretty open write-in policy. Don’t forget, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. won a surprise write-in victory in New Hampshire without ever declaring himself a candidate for President in 1964.
There is still time. In fact, if Jeb was interested in seeking the party’s nomination, this might be his smoothest path to victory.
Three reasons Jeb Bush is still a viable option…
1. Ron Paul’s surge: New polls out this week have Congressman Ron Paul in second place and moving up in both Iowa and New Hampshire, just as Newt Gingrich’s bubble appears to have burst. Establishment-types don’t want to sit by and watch Paul, who they see as totally unelectable, march to victory over a weak field. Jeb Bush would be the establishment’s firewall.
2. Proportional representation: New rules put in place by the party this year will mean that most of the early primaries will award delegates via a method of proportional representation. Generally, a candidate will have to poll 15% of the vote and then will get a slice of that state’s delegate pie. The effect of that would be splintering of the early delegate pool and no one candidate will obtain a significant lead early on. This is a big change from past GOP primary cycles when almost every state was winner-take-all and one candidate would run up a huge insurmountable lead. This time around, early states must allocate their delegates proportionately, but primaries after April 1 will still be winner-take-all.
3. Texas, Texas, Texas: Up until this week it looked like Texas, with its 155 delegates, would be voting on March 6. That would have been good news for Ron Paul and Rick Perry. However, because of a redistricting controversy that went all the way to the Supreme Court, it looks like the primary will slide back into April or May. That’s winner-take-all territory and a perfect setup for a late entry with Jeb Bush, would be the slam-dunk favorite in his brother’s homestate.