Despite millions of dollars, Jeb Bush is in 6th place.
The Jeb Bush campaign has spent $30 million in campaign ads. He has tried to shake Donald Trump’s “low energy” label that has stuck to him like glue. He recently called Trump a “carnival barker” not fit to be in the White House. Jeb has gone after protege Marco Rubio. He has cut his campaign staff, hired coaches to prepare for debates, and relaunched his “Jeb can fix it” campaign.
Still, Jeb is polling at 3% and falling.
The 3% figure released by CNN on Friday puts the son and brother of presidents in 6th place, an embarrassing and insulting performance. Six months ago, Bush was the uncontested, very well financed Republican establishment candidate. With two months left till the Iowa caucus, Jeb is bombarded by questions such as “what happened”. Could Jeb turn things around?
The Jeb campaign has struggled to gain moment, brand his message, and set himself apart from his opponents. While at campaign rallies, he often claims the election is about the future, yet the two-term governor’s major accomplishments were almost a decade ago. In addition, Jeb has tried to both distinguish himself from Bush I and Bush II presidents while also highlighting the advantage of being related to them. For example, he says because of his family ties he is more equipped to handle foreign relations.
Jeb’s stump speech has often changed as well. He use to highlight his Hispanic wife and his ties in the Hispanic community, but now he doesn’t mention his wife nor uses Spanish in public.
Considering the successful campaigns of Ben Carson and Donald Trump, when reporters ask Jeb if maybe it was just not his year to run for president the answer from Jeb is “no”. He insists he will turn the tide and win over voters, arguing that there is still plenty of time. When a candidate is as well funded as Jeb is, those statements don’t seem too far fetch.
Jeb strategy is to focus on organizing from the grass roots and up. He says its a question of organization in New Hampshire, and retail politics. Jeb has a ground team or strong presence in several states, including Nevada.
In N.H., where Jeb is polling in single digits, the Jeb! campaign has sent out mailers to help sway voters. They highlight his budgets cuts as governor of Florida. They highlight his leadership during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. But I’ll be challenging for Jeb to convince voters that his accomplishments 11 years ago are relevant today.
Jeb has highlighted his tough stance on national security. Jeb recently launched a 3-week, $600,000 campaign ad in N.H. and and Boston named “Honor”. In the ad he features Medal of Honor recipients. In one ad, Marine Major General James Livingston reminds viewers this is not a “reality show”, a clear swipe at Trump whose campaign has been characterized by many in the media as a reality tv show like The Apprentice.
The campaign does not expect poll numbers to jump quickly.
“It’s just not an expectation that we have or something we’re concerned about. I think what we’ve got to be concerned about is getting Jeb in front of voters in the early states,” said Tim Miller, communications director for the campaign.
The campaign points out Jeb’s grassroots presence and mentions the former Florida governor will spend more time in N.H. in the next two months. In N.H. Jeb will have other GOP leaders appear with him who could testify to Jeb’s record. The number of voters turning to Jeb has increased, claims the communication director.