Washington (CNN) - Some Republicans continue to hope Jeb Bush will get off the sidelines this presidential election, but a new poll out Monday indicates that President Obama would soundly defeat the former Florida governor.
According to the new survey from Fox News, Obama outpaces Bush by a 54-34 percent margin in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup. That's a significant uptick for the president from a September poll that indicated that Obama would only beat the younger brother of former President George W. Bush by a spread of eight points.
The release of the poll comes two weeks after Bush was featured on the cover of conservative magazine The National Review along with a story that hailed the former governor as a "can-do conservative reformer." In an interview with the magazine, Bush emphatically closed the door to a run in 2012, though left open the possibility of a White House bid in the future.
But National Review editor Rich Lowry later wrote he thinks this is the most favorable election cycle Bush is likely to face, given he has already been out of the governor's office for five years and is by-and-large removed from the public eye.
"No doubt he will have made many contributions to the cause in the interim, but by then his main credential – his governorship and its accomplishments – will seem like yesterday's news. Right now he has the feel of an elder statesman of the party while his time in office is still fresh," wrote Lowry.
The Fox News poll surveyed 911 registered voters nationwide by telephone between February 7-9. It carries a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.