- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Since hinting at potential runs for the White House in 2016, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have actually taken backward steps in favorability, both among the general public and in their own party.

Twenty-seven percent of Americans give Mr. Romney a positive rating in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, compared to 40 percent who give him negative marks; last year, he was at a 32 percent positive/39 percent negative split.

He was also marginally down among Republicans, though more than half — 52 percent — view him positively, compared to 15 percent who view him negatively. Last year, he was at a 60 percent positive/13 percent negative split.

Mr. Bush, who announced recently that he’s actively exploring a run and has set up the “Right to Rise” leadership PAC, is viewed positively by 19 percent of Americans and negatively by 32 percent. Last year, he was at a 26 percent positive/33 percent negative split.

Mr. Bush is viewed positively by 37 percent of Republicans and negatively by 15 percent. Last year, that split was 44 percent positive/12 percent negative.

Though hardline conservatives might view both men, perceived as having more of an establishment Republican backing, with a wary eye, 45 percent of conservatives and 52 percent of Tea Party supporters view Mr. Romney positively, according to the latest survey.

Less than one-third of both groups say the same for Mr. Bush, whose past support for Common Core education standards and comprehensive immigration reform could draw the ire of grassroots activists if he ultimately does run.

On the Democratic side, presumed Democratic frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is viewed favorably by 45 percent of Americans and negatively by 37 percent, and is also viewed favorably by three-quarters of Democrats.

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