Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who many once considered to be the Republican Party's likely 2016 presidential nominee, has lost support as 44 percent of the party's likely primary voters indicated in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that they could not see themselves voting for him. The same poll found that 36 percent of primary voters would not support GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson widened their lead over Bush and other candidates, according to the poll, conducted Oct. 15-18. Trump was the leading candidate in the poll with support from 25 percent support of respondents -- his highest mark in the poll yet -- climbing from 21 percent in the last WSJ/NBC poll from late September. Carson remained in second place with support from 22 percent of respondents, up from 20 percent last month.
In third place, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida jumped to 13 percent from 11 percent last month. Bush, who once led Rubio, polling at 22 percent as first choice in June, garnered support from only 8 percent of respondents in the new poll. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas also saw his poll numbers rise to 9 percent from 4 percent.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina fell from 11 percent last month to 7 percent in the latest poll. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all polled in the low single digits.
The following five candidates drew support from less than 1 percent of likely GOP voters: Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former New York Gov. George Pataki, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.
Candidates such as Rubio and Carson showed they could appeal to party-wide support. The poll found that 74 percent of primary voters could see themselves supporting Carson, and 65 percent said the same about Rubio.
The poll surveyed 1,000 adults nationwide and the full results will be released Tuesday. Included in the survey were 400 Republicans who say they plan to vote in the primary election. The margin of error for that group was plus of minus 4.9 percentage points.
Some poll respondents explained their choices reflected a preference for "fresh and nonpolitical people," according to the Wall Street Journal.
“The circle [of people] that runs around staying in politics, they become so involved that they are not doing what they came to office to do anymore,” said Nicholas Montagnoli, a construction worker in California who said he couldn’t support Bush. “I think fresh people and nonpolitical people would do a lot better.”
In another poll released Monday, Bush fell into single digits for the first time in a home-state Republican primary poll with 9 percent support. The University of North Florida poll found Bush in fourth place, behind Trump, Carson and Rubio.