I'll save you the trouble of reading Mark Halperin's 2,228-word article addressing the question of whether Jeb Bush will really run for president in 2016: Um, Halperin's not sure. It might happen -- or it might not. Political insiders aren't certain. Wow, thanks, Mark! I'll definitely keep returning to the new Bloomberg Politics site if it continues to deliver breaking news like this!
It's clear that Halperin wants to believe that Jeb will run. Breathlessly, he explains what a formidable general-election candidate Jeb would be in a race against Hillary Clinton:
Finally, the most macro significant question for any Republican putting him or herself forward to beat Clinton is this: what states can you win that Romney lost? For Bush, the easy answer includes Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Virginia. If he runs a strong campaign, Bush could perhaps compete in California and possibly New Jersey and Michigan.No, that's nuts.
Let's start near the end of that list: New Jersey? Seriously? Quinnipiac polled Jeb vs. Hillary in New Jersey late last month, and Hillary beat Jeb 53%-32%. A Fairleigh Dickinson poll earlier in September had Hillary beating Jeb 51%-32%. (Hillary's so strong in Jersey that she beats Christie by double digits.)
Um, Michigan? Early last month, Public Policy Polling had Hillary beating Jeb 49%-38%. Wisconsin? PPP in April had it as Hillary 50%, Jeb 39%. Ohio? Quinnipiac in July had it Hillary 48%, Jeb 37%. Oh, and California? I can't find a Hillary-Jeb poll, but Obama won there 60%-37% in 2012 (after winning 61%-37% in 2008).
I'm pulling all these numbers from a Wikipedia compilation of state head-to-head polls. Almost as ridiculous is Halperin's notion that Jeb helps close the gap in states where other Republicans are less competitive. In Florida, yes, that's true (though Hillary still beats Jeb). But in Colorado, Rand Paul actually does better against Hillary than Jeb does, and Mike Huckabee, Christie, and Cruz do about as well. In Virginia, Christie and Paul do much better than Jeb.
Halperin's claiming insider knowledge when he hasn't even bothered to Google the relevant polls. Buthe's being exactly what you'd expect him to be: a cheerleader for the pre-Tea Party GOP establishment. He's not going to let facts stand in the way of being a fanboy.