Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton Lead 2016 Presidential Contenders in the Gem State

A new Idaho Politics Weekly poll of Idaho residents measuring support for GOP and Democratic presidential hopefuls finds that Jeb Bush leads the Republican field, while Hillary Clinton is preferred among the Democratic candidates.

But it’s still way early in the 2016 White House race, and no candidate comes close to even 50 percent support, finds pollster Dan Jones & Associates.

Still, there are some surprises:

  • Like Donald Trump comes in second among Republican candidates.
  • Democrat/socialist Bernie Sanders isn’t far behind Clinton.

The poll was conducted from June 17 to July 1, just before Trump made his incendiary comments about illegal aliens from Mexico being criminals, murderers, and rapists.

And Sanders, I-Vermont, over the last two weeks has begun a mini-run at Clinton, giving the former First Lady and Secretary of State the wobbles.

Jones also finds that many Idahoans believe former President Bill Clinton will be a help in Hillary’s run for the presidency.

But many also believe that former President George W. Bush will hurt his brother Jeb’s White House attempt.

Finally, 68 percent of Idahoans believe the nationally televised presidential debates are beneficial in helping voters make up their minds on who to vote for.

Here are some numbers:

  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is favored by 15 percent of Idahoans among a field of 12. More candidates got in the race after Jones started polling and aren’t named in the poll.
  • Trump gets 12 percent support.
  • Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has 10 percent support. Paul is a noted libertarian, and Idaho has a streak of libertarians in the populace.
  • Former Doctor Ben Carson, the only African-American in the GOP field, gets 8 percent support.
  • While Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, gets 7 percent.

All the others are way down from there.

  • 13 percent mentioned someone else.
  • 23 percent didn’t know.

Among the Democrats:

  • Hillary Clinton comes in at 19 percent support.
  • Sanders has 12 percent.
  • Vice President Joe Biden, who has not announced a candidacy for president, has 10 percent.

Other Democrats were well down in the voting.

  • 18 percent mentioned someone else.
  • 32 percent didn’t know which Democrat they liked.

Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush carry a lot of political baggage – Clinton over the Monica Lewinski affair and Bush over two unpopular Middle East wars.

But in Idaho the grudges against Bush are greater, it appears.

Forty-eight percent of Idahoans said they believe President Bush will hurt his brother Jeb’s chances of winning the White House.

Seventeen percent said G. Bush would make no difference in Jeb’s race.

While only 29 percent said George would help Jeb’s chances.

It’s the opposite numbers for Bill and Hillary.

Forty percent said Bill will help his wife’s chances.

Eighteen percent said Bill will make no difference in Hillary’s race.

And a third said Bill will harm Hillary’s presidential campaign.

As to be expected, Republicans believe George will help Jeb, Democrats say the opposite.

And two-thirds of Democrats really believe Bill will help Hillary.

But even 40 percent of Republicans think Bill will help his wife’s campaign while 36 percent say he will hurt her efforts.

Finally, 68 percent of Idahoans say nationally televised presidential debates are beneficial, 29 percent say they are a waste of time, and 3 percent didn’t have an opinion.

Idaho is a solid red state, and there’s little doubt that whoever wins the Republican presidential nomination will carry the state next year.

An unpopular GOP nominee, however, could have an impact down ballot, especially if he or she doesn’t turn Republicans out to vote in the Gem State.