Reporting Tim Kephart
Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney are still neck and neck in the latest McClatchy-Marist poll.
Obama leads Romney in a hypothetical matchup in November, 46-44 percent, according to the poll. Rick Santorum is trailing Obama by five points, 48-43 percent, in a potential November matchup with the president.
Independents are keeping Romney in the race, with both Santorum and Romney edging Obama among independents by one point.
But while the GOP nominating battle looks to be locked up by Romney, the focus will now turn to who will Romney choose to be his running mate against President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden.
Much of the focus early on has been on Florida Senator Marco Rubio who might push Romney over the top in the swing state of Florida. But, according to the poll, a different Florida Republican could do the most damage to President Obama.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Apparently the Bush dynasty could continue if the GOP could convince him to be on the ticket. An Obama-Biden ticket ties Romney-Bush at 47 percent, while a Obama-Biden versus Romney-Rubio ticket gives the president the advantage by a 49-44 percent margin.
Bush’s is biggest strength is with Latino voters, despite Rubio’s Cuban heritage. A Romney-Bush ticket beats Obama-Biden among Latinos by a 57-39 percent margin, while Romney-Rubio ticket has Democrats winning by a 50-46 percent margin.
Bush polled especially strong in the Midwest and in Florida, which will both be battlegrounds in November’s general election.
Much of the race will be decided in June when the Supreme Court rules on President Obama’s signature Health Care reform bill. The individual mandate was originally championed by conservatives, until Obama put it in his law and it’s since been the conservative’s least favorite part of the bill.
The question Romney will have to answer is: Are the United States ready for another Bush to be near the White House? George W. Bush left with historically low ratings and may have stained the name enough to keep many from supporting Jeb.
But, Jeb has been able to buck the national trends of his family’s popularity or unpopularity in Florida races and it’s very possible he could be the knight to ride to the rescue of Romney’s campaign.