FLA INSIDER POLL: Still optimistic about Jeb, but much less so
Note:This post has been updated.
The political pros who know Jeb Bush best remain bullish -- albeit far less so than a couple months ago -- about Bush's prospects despite his well-chronicled troubles of late.
An exclusive Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll conducted this week found a strong plurality of Florida’s most plugged in political players expect Bush will not only win Florida’s presidential primary March 15 but also the Republican nomination. Among more than 160 participants -- Florida campaign professionals, fundraisers, political scientists, lobbyists -- 44 percent predicted Bush will be the nominee, 32 percent predicted Rubio, and 22 percent predicted Trump.
The non-scientific Florida Insider Poll is a measure of conventional wisdom among Florida’s political establishment -- Bush’s base, essentially -- and even among this group, the optimism about Bush’s prospects has dropped significantly.
In late August, more than 85 percent of our Political Insiders predicted Bush would win Florida’s primary. In the latest Insider Poll, fewer than 44 percent predicted Bush would win Florida, while 34 percent predicted Rubio and 21 percent Trump.
More than one in four doubted Bush would even be in the race by the time of Florida’s March 15 primary, which will award every delegate at stake to the winner rather than distributing delegates proportionally. Just 12 percent said that of Rubio and 22 percent predicted Trump would be out of the race by then.
And who would be the strongest Republican for the general election? Forty-seven percent said Bush, 32 percent said Rubio, 14 percent - mostly Democrats - said Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and 3 percent said Trump.
The Florida Insider Poll, again, is an unscientific survey of the smartest minds in Florida politics. It is loaded with conflcts of interest, particularly people who currently work for or used to work for Jeb Bush. To encourage frank assessments and predictions, we keep people's answers confidential. Email me at asmith@tampabayif you want to nominate yourself or someone else.
This week's Florida Insiders included:
Marion Hammer, Betty Castor, Mac Stipanovich, Henry Kelley, Chris Dorworth, Brian Ballard, Joe Perry, Rich Heffley, Ben Pollara, Doc Dockery, Ashley Walker, Nancy Watkins, Cindy Graves, Eric Johnson, Frank Tsamatoules, Meredith O'Rourke, Ron Greenstein, Frank Mirabella, Alex Sink, Roger Stone, Alan Becker, Gretchen Picotte, Mike Fasano, Aubrey Jewett, John Morgan, Roly Marante, Wayne Bertsch, Bob Graham, Steve Vancore, John Wehrung, Clarence McKee, Stephanie Kunkel, David Colburn, Steve Uhlfelder, Jason Roth, Karl Koch, Ron Sachs, Jackie Lee, Michael Albetta, Brad Coker, James Harris, Joy-Ann Reid, Ron Bilbao, Richard Swann, David Rancourt, Stephen Shiver, Slater Balyliss, Al Hoffman, Rodney Barreto, Brett Doster, Cynthia Henderson, Marc Reichelderfer, Ryan Duffy, Kristy Campbell, Screven Watson, Al Cardenas, Gus Corbella, Gayle Andrews, Jim Davis, Alia Faraj-Johnson, Justin Day Ann Herberger, Josh Geise, Jim Rimes, Chip LaMarca, Paul Mitchell, Ana Navarro, Alex Patton, JC Planas, Allan Bense, Paul Bradshaw, Erik Kirk, Towson Fraser, John French, Ellen Freidin, Tom Lewis, Darrick McGhee, Jamie Wilson, Sarah Bascom, Bill Lee, David Bishop, Bob Sparks, Hayden Dempsey, Richard DeNapoli, Pablo Diaz, Eric Eikenberg, Marty Fiorentino, Mike Hanna, Jamie Miller, Jason Unger, David Johnson, Barry Edwards, Chris Kise, Christina Johnson, Oscar Anderson, Scott Peelen, Rich Crotty, Jason Rosenberg, Abel Harding, Darryl Paulson, Ryan Tyson, Anthony Pedicini, Fred Cunningham, Mike Hamby, Cory Tilley, Husein Cumber, Eric Jotkoff, Mitch Ceasar, Bernie Campbell, Steve Geller, Donald Hinkle, Jason Altmire, Jim Kitchens, Kevin Cate, Monica Russo, Kevin King, Dave Aronberg, Chris Hand, Bud Shorstein, Christian Ulvert, Steve Schale, Bill Helmich, Damien Filer, Brad Herold, Chris Korge, Shannon Gravitte, Tony Hill, Peter Wallace, Jeff Johnson, Nancy McGowan, Mark Zubaly, Richard Gentry, Paula Dockery, Greg C. Truax, Matthew Corrigan, Kirk Pepper, Nels Kingston, Rick Wilson, Sarah Rumpf, Kirk Fordham, John Konkus, John Stemberger, Tom Gaitens, Amber Stoner, John Dowless, Nick Hansen, Jack Furnari, Sam Rashid, Stafford Jones, Javier Manjerres, Christian Ziegler, Jill Chamberlin, Dan Mclaughlin, Tim Baker, Andrew Weinstein, Jon Ausman.