The math reveals how tough it will be for Jeb Bush to win the GOP nomination

Jeb Bush has two advantages in his run for the GOP nomination: He can raise all the money he wants; and he’s the pick of the GOP Establishment.

But the polling math shows it will be tough for Jeb Bush to win.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls right now shows Jeb with a 1.5 point lead over Scott Walker nationally amoung GOP voters.

Two polls show Jeb leading. Two polls show Walker leading. And the most recent poll shows Walker leading nationally among Republicans by 3 points.

But with Jeb’s high name ID, it should be alarming to Team Bush that only 16.5 percent of GOP voters want him as their nominee.

83.5 percent of GOP voters want someone else.

But let’s add up the potential GOP votes for Jeb Bush if everything breaks his way.

We start by tallying up the polling numbers for the moderate GOP Establishment-types in the race: Jeb Bush (16.5), Chris Christie (5.5, and John Kasich (1.3).  That’s a total poll number of 23.3 percent for Jeb.

Now let’s add up the polling numbers of the candidates of the conservative wing of the party: Scott Walker (15.3), Ted Cruz (10.5), Rand Paul (9.8), Marco Rubio (7.3), Ben Carson (9.0), Mike Huckabee (8.5), Rick Perry (2.8), Rick Santorum (1.7), Bobby Jindal (1.3).

That’s a total of 66.2 percent of the vote for the conservative wing.

In the case of Rand Paul, we can argue where some of his vote would go if he were to leave the race.
Some of it might bolt to the Libertarian Party. Hard to imagine any of Rand Paul’s voters moving into the Jeb column.

Mike Huckabee is probably the most moderate of the candidates I list as being in the conservative wing. He’s attracting mostly evangelical Christian voters. Jeb might get some of these voters if Huckabee drops out. Let’s be generous and give Jeb half Huck’s votes if Huck exits the race.

That would only add 4.2 points to Jeb’s total, bringing him up to 27.5 percent of the vote.

If Jindal drops out or doesn’t run, Jeb might get half his vote, but that’s half of just 1.3 percent.

That’ brings Jeb up to 28.15 percent of the GOP vote.

If Marco Rubio drops out, Jeb might get some of the Rubio vote. Hard to imagine many Rubio voters gravitating to Jeb. But let’s be super generous and give Jeb half of Rubio’s 7.3 percent.

This brings Jeb to 32.35 percent of the GOP vote.

11.5 percent are undecided.

So let’s be insanely generous and award Jeb 100% of undecided voters.  That won’t happen either.  I suspect more than half the undecideds are just undecided between the conservative candidates.  But let’s be crazy and give all these votes to Jeb,

That would bring Jeb’s vote total ceiling to 43.85 percent.

Jeb’s not likely to get any of the Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, or Rick Santorum vote if they drop out or don’t run.

So it looks like Jeb’s absolute ceiling vote-wize for the GOP nomination is 43.85 percent.

And that appears very generous to Jeb.

Remember, that’s assuming he would get half Huckabee’s vote, half Rubio’s vote, and half Jindal’s vote, were they to exit the race — a stretch, in my opinion.

And that’s assuming he would get 100% of the 11.5 percent  undecided vote — a near impossibility.

That’s also assuming Jeb would get 100% of the Christie and Kasich vote. That probably would not happen either.

So I’m being extraordinarily generous to Jeb by awarding him 43.85 percent of the GOP primary vote as a ceiling.

One way Jeb might be able to scrape together enough delegates to win the GOP nomination is if the field stays crowded with conservative candidates dividing up the conservative vote.

What’s more likely to happen is the strongest conservative candidate will emerge as the clear front-runner for the conservative vote.

I’m betting that’s Scott Walker.

My own opinion is a Walker-Rubio ticket could be very strong.

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