Despite the spreading scandal over Hillary’s private email account, and her much-delayed response of “trust me,” the recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has more voters saying she will provide new ideas as opposed to Jeb Bush. 44% say Hillary will bring new ideas vs. 27% for Jeb. And 51% say Hillary is a return to the past compared to 60% for Jeb. who has never been directly involved in federal politics to the extent that Hillary has as First Lady and Secretary of State, as well as Senator. Is Howard Kurtz right in saying that to the extent that voters are nostalgic, they prefer a return to the Clinton years rather than to the George W. Bush years?

Part of that difference is that the GOP race is wide open and Jeb Bush has to contend with everyone from Rubio to Walker to Carson to Cruz and even a Lindsay Graham who may prove to be credible contender. But it is more than just a crowded field, it’s Jeb Bush himself. Right now, big money GOP donors seem far more comfortable with Jeb’s centrist position on issues like immigration and education than do conservative voters. Some donors apparently have liberal positions on gay marriage for example, and even supported Obama in the previous election. In other words, some of the money funding Bush is far more liberal than many of the GOP voters currently are. So while Democrats and voters at large will have to deal with any discomfort over how secretive and controlling a President Hillary would be, GOP voters have to decide how conservative a President Jeb would be. And that means in terms of the policies he promotes. As an individual Jeb Bush is clearly a conservative, but an old fashioned one to whom the very word may mean something different than it does to a Tea Party supporter, for example.

And maybe that’s why big money is tending to support Jeb. They see him, as has been pointed out, as an antidote to the Tea Party, who get the blame for any GOP defeat at the polls, and get forgotten soon after any GOP victory at the polls. The Republican Party establishment wants Jeb Bush not just to win the nomination and the election, they want him to bury the Tea Party by showing that his centrist positions combined with a low-key pragmatic conservatism is what wins elections. So the problem for Jeb, as his donors see it and perhaps as Jeb’s team sees it as well, is not how to placate the Tea Party, but how to marginalize them. The latest polls suggest that Jeb and his team have a lot of work to do.