A Mason-Dixon poll has Marco Rubio effectively tied with Jeb Bush among Florida Republicans. Rubio is supported by 31 percent; Bush by 30 percent. Ted Cruz is next with 8 percent. Then comes Rand Paul at 7 percent and Scott Walker at 2 percent. The margin of error is 5 points.
Earlier this month, before Rubio rolled out his campaign, a Quinnipiac poll had Bush polling at 24 percent among Republicans, Walker at 15 percent and Rubio at 12 percent. From these two polls, one could infer that the Rubio rollout enabled him to capture nearly all of Walker’s support. However, I question whether just two polls, taken at such an early stage by two different outfits, provide a sound basis for such an inference.
What seems clear is that Rubio’s rollout was impressive. Politico reports:
[T]he poll results don’t really surprise some top Florida Bush backers who watched Rubio’s Monday announcement at Miami’s Freedom Tower with a mixture of awe and dread.
“Man, that guy is good and we could be in trouble,” said one major Bush backer, adding that friends and a relative from out of state told the supporter to back Rubio instead of the former governor.
“Not only was the stagecraft right, but so was the tone of the speech,” said another. “I love Jeb more than anything, but Rubio has the same ideas and he’s a better messenger with a better story.”
Can you imagine Jeb Bush reaching the same conclusion and eventually stepping aside to back his former protege — the honorary Hispanic deferring to the genuine one? I can, though much would have to happen to bring about this scenario.