The Washington Post reports:
Many of the Republican Party's most powerful insiders and financiers have begun a behind-the-scenes campaign to draft former Florida governor Jeb Bush into the 2016 presidential race, courting him and his intimates and starting talks on fundraising strategy.The story goes on to give several reasons for this, among them the following:
Fluent in Spanish, Bush has credibility within the Hispanic community that could help broaden his coalition.Except that there's no evidence that this is true.
Among recent polls of the 2016 general election that mention Jeb, two surveys -- from Quinnipiac in January and Public Policy Polling earlier this month (PDF) -- break out results for Hispanic voters. Neither one suggests that Jeb prioides any particular advantage against Hillary Clinton.
Quinnipiac, Hispanic vote only:
Clinton 58%, Bush 30%PPP, Hispanic vote only:
Clinton 59%, Paul 29%
Clinton 63%, Christie 28%
Clinton 64%, Cruz 24%
Clinton 48%, Paul 27%In a Latino Decisions poll conducted last July (PDF), the results were even worse for Jeb:
Clinton 55%, Christie 29%
Clinton 57%, Rubio 28%
Clinton 58%, Ryan 28%
Clinton 61%, Huckabee 25%
Clinton 63%, Bush 28%
Clinton 64%, Romney 22%
Clinton 65%, Cruz 27%
Clinton 66%, Rubio 28%In that poll, Chris Christie had a much better favorable/unfavorable rating than Jeb, and Marco Rubio topped Jeb as well, while Jeb had the highest unfavorable level. Here were the Republicans surveyed:
Clinton 73%, Ryan 21%
Clinton 74%, Bush 20%
Chris Christie (pre-Bridgegate): 38% favorable, 12% unfavorableJeb doesn't automatically make Republicans competitive with Hispanics. Far from it. Understand?
Marco Rubio: 31% favorable, 29% unfavorable
Jeb Bush: 27% favorable, 39% unfavorable
New Mexico governor Susana Martinez: 25% favorable, 12% unfavorable
Ted Cruz: 25% favorable, 20% unfavorable
Paul Ryan: 20% favorable, 31% unfavorable
Rick Santorum: 17% favorable, 24% unfavorable
Rand Paul: 17% favorable, 27% unfavorable
That Latino Decisions survey says Jeb could get more than 40% of the Hispanic vote, as could other Republicans -- but only if they play a key role in persuading Congress to pass an immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship. Doing that, however, would end any 2016 wannabe's chances of winning the Republican nomination. So it's a moot point.