Despite dropping in recent polls, GOP candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said on Sunday that he believes the early polls “really don’t matter,” in the “marathon” that is the presidential race.
During an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” Bush dismissed the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, which has him listed in fifth place at 7 percent, behind Donald Trump at 21 percent; Ben Carson at 20 percent; and Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio, who are both at 11 percent.
“These polls really don’t matter,” Bush said. “They don’t filter out the people that aren’t going to vote. It’s just, I know it’s an obsession, because it kind of frames the debate for people for that week.”
The Chicago Tribune noted that Bush is entering a critical phase of his campaign, due to the fact that top donors are warning that he “needs to demonstrate growth in the polls over the next month or face serious defections among supporters.”
Bush told Wallace that he is “running a hard campaign,” and he expects to see improvement in polling numbers. “Campaigns are about getting better each and every day,” Bush said. “Whether it’s Donald Trump or you, or anybody else, candidates have to get better, and that’s what I intend to do.”
When campaigning in South Carolina last week, Bush said that Democrats often win over black voters by telling them “we’ll take care of you with free stuff.”
“Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” Bush said. “It isn’t one of division and ‘get in line,’ and we’ll take care of you with free stuff.”
Wallace noted that Bush’s comments are being compared to comments made by 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
During a speech at a convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in July 2012, Romney said he wanted people to know what he stands for, and to vote accordingly.
“I want people to know what I stand for and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that’s just fine,” Romney said. “But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff”
In response, Bush insisted that “the left” had taken his comments out of context, and claimed that while the U.S. government spends “a trillion dollars a year on poverty programs,” the net result is that the “percentage of people in poverty has remained the same.”
“We need to make our case to African-American voters, and all voters, that an aspirational message, fixing a few big complex things, will allow people to rise up,” Bush said. “That’s what people want. They don’t want free stuff. That was my whole point.”
Bush called the presidential race a marathon, and said he thinks that once he starts advertising, his polling numbers will improve.
“Look, it is a marathon, and we just started advertising,” Bush said. “I’m confident we’ll get good response. We’ve got a great ground game in these early states. I’m confident that I can win New Hampshire for sure.”
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