Among the other questions asked by Suffolk University/USA Today in a poll conducted last week was one of the sort that makes political watchers salivate. Who is unacceptable as the nominee of your party, it asked Republicans and independents who plan to vote in the primary. The winner -- which is to say, loser -- Jeb Bush.
When you compare the results of that question with the converse -- who would you like to see be the nominee -- the results are striking. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has much more support than opposition; more people say they don't want Bush than say they would vote for him.
(Other polls, for what it's worth, have shown both support for and opposition to these candidates higher. The Suffolk poll differs in that it doesn't provide names of the candidates for people to support or oppose. But when polls do, upwards of four in 10 Republicans have said Bush and and other GOP hopefuls are non-starters.)
When you plot the two questions on one graph, it gets a bit murkier. Walker and Bush both stand out, with Walker above the black dotted line (which is where a candidate would want to be) and Bush below it (which is not). Joining Walker on the good side: Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio. Joining Bush on the not-so-good side: Rand Paul and Chris Christie.
But notice that red dotted line. That's the rough trend at play, which can be summarized as follows. The more support a candidate gets, the more opposition he or she sees. The correlation isn't strong, but it holds in nearly every case. In other words: The more people have any opinion, that opinion is going to be split.
Both of those charts skip over the real message, though. Which is this:
The majority of people don't have an opinion, positive or negative, on the candidates. (We included those who said they didn't oppose any candidates in the second chart.) There is a whole lot of time and there are a whole lot of people that can be swayed in one direction or the other -- particularly as these candidates do or don't decide to run. (For example, people volunteered Paul Ryan's name, you may have noticed. He's not running!)
Bush would still rather see numbers like Walker's than his own, of course. But there's little reason for him to be too worried about it.