Ben Carson and Jeb Bush blew it. Here's where their support is going.

Ben Carson and Jeb Bush were each in a position few people ever get to be in. They were the frontrunners to be a major party nominee for President of the United States. Some guys, like John Kasich, become bitter, resentful trolls because they never get there. Bush and Carson each had it, and foolishly fumbled it away. Bush did it by being entitled, out of touch, and hiring poorly. Carson did it through laziness and trying to make money off of it.

Let’s see where their support is going, now that they are in the process of failing.


Photo by Marc Nozell on Flickr
Photo by Marc Nozell on Flickr

There is no doubt that Carson has choked away his lead. The best poll indicator out there is the Real Clear Politics chart, which is a lagging indicator of the race, meaning it’s behind the current state of the race at all times. Carson finally took the lead there on November 4. At that point he’d led 3 of 5 national polls. He’d eliminated Trump’s lead and was in the driver’s seat.

However he simply wasn’t willing to put in the time and effort needed to win from there. He didn’t do his policy homework, he wasn’t willing to set aside a book tour to run for President, and now he’s lost almost half his support over the last month.

Bush? Well, what is there to say about him? He was up 17-11 on Chris Christie in January, and up 17-9-9 over Scott Walker and Donald Trump in July. But now he’s having trouble breaking out of the margin of error.

Let’s see where their support is going:

11/4 12/11 Change
Trump 24.6 30.4 +5.8
Cruz 8.8 15.6 +6.8
Rubio 11.0 13.6 +2.6
Carson 24.8 13.6 -11.2
Bush 5.8 3.6 -2.2

Obviously these numbers don’t quite sum to zero, meaning the frontrunners have pulled a couple of points from other candidates as well, notably Carly Fiorina. But most of the support here is simply shifting from Carson and Bush, to Trump, Rubio, and Cruz.

However Bush and Carson still have 17.2 points between them. That’s a lot of Republican voters who haven’t yet felt the need to choose between the top three candidates. On top of that, the remaining candidates have another 10 points between them. Whom everyone prefers as a second choice is very important to watch in the coming weeks.

Mitt Romney had trouble breaking out of his famous ‘poll ceiling’ back in the 2012 cycle, but as the leading second choice, he pulled ahead of the field by the end. [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] today praised Donald Trump on Twitter, hoping to be the second choice of his supporters. That could be a winning strategy, though it’s a strategy that could potentially harm him in the general election.