Jeb Bush is surging in South Carolina, according to a new poll, but rivals Donald Trump and Ted Cruz still have him beat in the state.
The former Florida governor has seen his numbers drop with the rise of front-runner Donald Trump, but his support is climbing after Thursday’s Republican debate in North Charleston. Bush was in third place with 13 percent, behind Trump’s 32 percent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 18 percent, according to a poll conducted by OpinionSavvy for Morris News Service and InsiderAdvantage, a political news site based in Georgia.
Bush held an early lead in the state until Trump emerged in August. This is his best showing since then, according to his polling average compiled by Real Clear Politics. Sen. Lindsey Graham endorsed Bush on Friday, the same day the poll was taken. Graham told reporters that Bush looked “ready on day one to be commander-in-chief.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio—a former protege of Bush—is hot on his heels at 11 percent, followed by Ben Carson at 9 percent. The other candidates were all below five percent, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Carly Fiorina and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
South Carolina is first Southern state to vote in the primaries and has historically been an important barometer for success in later contests—both Bush’s father and brother won the state on their way to the White House, reports the State. The poll surveyed 683 people likely to vote in the South Carolina Republican primary on February 20. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.7%.