Why being likable is overrated, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush edition

New Hampshire Republicans really like Scott Walker. Three-quarters of the New Hampshirites surveyed by Monmouth University in a poll releasedTuesday had an opinion on the governor from Wisconsin; two-thirds of that group viewed him favorably. His net favorability is +41, the highest of anyone whom Monmouth asked about. It’s much bigger than the next tier of GOP candidates, which includes Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Ben Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, all of whom are around +30 net favorability.

And if you totaled the support each received in the poll, it’s just about equal to what Donald Trump got. Trump is up huge, well outside the margin of error, in a state that twice voted for Sen. John “Not a War Hero” McCain in the Republican primary.

If you plot the poll results against the net favorability of each candidate, there’s a correlation for the most part. For 14 of the 16 candidates below, the lower the favorability, the lower they polled. Then there are the other two candidates.

Part of what has helped Trump weather the buffeting he’s received in the press is that he has a base of support that stands by him. These numbers could reflect that; he’s viewed very negatively by some and very favorably by others. The people who view him favorably are voting for him. The people who aren’t are voting for one of a number of other people. The logical extension of that train of thought is that the same applies to Jeb Bush: He has a base that backs him and a lot of people who would rather he not be the nominee.

The implication there is that both Trump and Bush have caps on the support they’ll receive, which is probably the case to some extent. It’s also true that Trump and Bush were the second choices of 20 percent of poll respondents. (We’ll note again: This data is just from New Hampshire.)

Along with the caveats about the early polling, it’s worth noting that as the field inevitably consolidates, we’ll see how much Trump and Bush gain. Or if someone like Rubio, who is well-liked but not someoneĀ  voters are yet rallying around, manages to scrape together a coalition that’s larger than the current front-runners’ bases — which we’ll assume is the case that Rubio’s team will make to potential donors.

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