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In N.H. poll, Jeb Bush leads GOP hopefuls

The first poll of New Hampshire Republicans conducted entirely after former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said he was not running for president in 2016 offers good news and bad news for Jeb Bush.

The good news: Bush, the former governor of Florida, tops the Republican field in the state that traditionally holds the nation’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.

The bad news: Bush is deeply unpopular among general election voters in New Hampshire, which is also a critical swing state.

A new Bloomberg Politics/Saint Anselm College poll showed that in the Republican primary, Bush has 16 percent support, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has 13 percent, and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has 12 percent. Statistically, with the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent, all three are tied.


The poll of 400 Republican voters and 503 general election voters was conducted by Purple Insights from Jan. 31 through Feb. 5.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, who experts say must win New Hampshire to have any shot at the Republican nomination, netted 10 percent support. All other prospective candidates were in single digits.

Potential Republican primary voters in New Hampshire said Bush’s advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform and for the Common Core education standards were “deal killers” for at least one in five of them.

That said, roughly the same share of Republicans said Bush was the best opponent to face Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election should she enter the race.

This does not mean that Bush would win the state’s four electoral votes in the general election.

When comparing how Granite State voters view Bush and Clinton, Bush’s unfavorable rating among general election voters is 50 percent, compared with 35 percent favorable.

Clinton, on the other hand, has a 54 percent favorable rating and a 42 percent unfavorable rating among those voters.


James Pindell can be reached at James.Pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell.