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NBC/WSJ Poll: No Bump for Romney, Jeb Bush After '16 Hints

Both candidates have lost ground since pollsters last measured Americans’ feelings towards them.
Image: Republican National Committee Holds Winter Meeting
SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 16: Mitt Romney is greeted by fellow Republicans at a dinner during the Republican National Committee's Annual Winter Meeting aboard the USS Midway on January 16, 2015 in San Diego, California. Romney is contemplating a possible 2016 presidential run. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)Sandy Huffaker / Getty Images

Potential 2016 candidates Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney have earned plenty of headlines after publicly acknowledging that they’re revving up likely presidential campaigns, but, so far, they haven’t gained positive marks from the public, according to the newest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

In fact, both candidates have lost ground since pollsters last measured Americans’ feelings towards them – including a dip in approval from members of their own party.

Just 27 percent of Americans now offer a positive rating for Romney, the Republican party’s nominee in 2012, compared to 40 percent who give him negative marks. And just over half of Republicans – 52 percent – give him a thumbs up, while 15 percent disagree.

In September of last year, when Romney was widely expected NOT to seek the presidency again, his ratings stood at 32 percent positive/ 39 percent negative. With Republicans, that split was 60 percent positive/ 13 percent negative.

While former Florida governor Jeb Bush is not quite as well-known as Romney, with 13 percent of respondents saying they don’t know the name, he’s also seen a drop in approval since announcing that he’s “actively exploring” a 2016 run.

Just 19 percent of Americans now give Bush a positive rating, while 32 percent assess him negatively. His fans include just 37 percent of Republicans, while 15 percent offer a poor assessment of him.

That’s compared to an overall rating last November of 26 percent positive and 33 percent negative. Among Republicans at that time, Bush’s rating stood at 44 percent positive to 12 percent negative.

While Romney’s overall negative rating is higher than Bush’s, the former GOP nominee enjoys more favor with conservatives than Bush, whose backing for comprehensive immigration reform and the Common Core education curriculum have made him a lightning rod for Tea Party ire.

Forty-five percent of self-described conservatives and 52 percent of Tea Party supporters view Romney positively in the latest survey.

But just 30 percent of conservatives and 29 percent of Tea Party backers say the same of Bush.

While both Republican candidates post a net-negative rating, likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton currently enjoys an overall positive assessment from the American public.

Forty-five percent of Americans rate her positively, while 37 percent rate her negatively.

Among Democrats, three-quarters give Clinton a thumbs up, with just 7 percent disagreeing.