United States presidential election, 2016

A new Augusta Chronicle poll has Jeb Bush pulling ahead of Marco Rubio? Well, smack my ass and call me Sally.

Let’s go to the topline:

Trump 32, Cruz 18, Rubio 11, Bush 13, Carson 9, Paul 2, Christie 4, Kasich 3, Fiorina 3, Huckabee 2, Santorum 1

Earlier data points are:

CBS/YouGov (Dec 20)

Trump 38, Cruz 23, Rubio 12, Bush 7, Carson 9, Paul 4, Christie 1, Kasich 2, Fiorina 1, Huckabee 1, Santorum 0

Augusta Chronicle (Dec 19)

Trump 28, Cruz 21, Rubio 12, Bush 10, Carson 10, Paul 3, Christie 6, Kasich 1, Fiorina 5, Huckabee 2, Santorum 1

Winthrop (Dec 10)

Trump 24, Cruz 16, Rubio 11, Bush 9, Carson 14, Paul 1, Christie 1, Kasich 1, Fiorina 2, Huckabee 2, Santorum 0

FoxNews (Dec 9)

Trump 35, Cruz 14, Rubio 14, Bush 5, Carson 15, Paul 2, Christie 2, Kasich 1, Fiorina 1, Huckabee 1, Santorum 1

The Trump leads, from earliest to most recent, are +21, +8, +7, +15, and +14. This seems to indicate that Trump may be gaining strength there… or, alternatively, he may have stalled. It depends on how you read the trend. The real news is in the race for third place. It looks like there are defections from Christie and Kasich that are ending up in the Jeb Bush camp.

rcp average sc 1-17
The thing to keep in mind is that South Carolina has an open primary. The name of the game there will be GOTV. If, as many suspect, Trump’s poll numbers are buoyed by numbers of persons who haven’t voted regularly, this poll may be very, very soft. We’ll have a much better take on that after New Hampshire. The fact that Bush has increased his share of the vote from single digits into third place does not bode well for Rubio as those voters are probably established primary voters.