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Mitt Romney leads new poll. Three things that tells us. (+video)

No, Mitt Romney is not running. He remembers what running for president (and losing) is like. Still, his strong finishes in presidential polls raise questions about Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. 

Mitt Romney keeps showing up at the top of Republican presidential polls.

The latest boost to the draft-Mitt movement comes from a Quinnipiac survey that has the 2012 GOP presidential candidate in the lead for the 2016 nomination. He’s the choice of 19 percent of Republican voters, according to Quinnipiac.

Ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is second in this survey, with 11 percent. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and retired surgeon and political neophyte Ben Carson tied for the bronze medal at 8 percent.

Recommended: 14 Republicans running in 2016

“Remember Mitt? Republicans still have Governor Mitt Romney on top of mind and top of the heap in the potential race for the top job,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement.

Yes, Mr. Malloy, we do remember Mitt. And Mitt remembers what running for president (and losing) is like. That’s one reason he is not going to do it again.

He says he won’t. His wife, Ann, says he won’t. We’ll take them at their word until there’s hard evidence otherwise, and by “hard evidence” we mean a big campaign sign erected on one of his front lawns.

That said, the results here do spark some holiday eve musings.

Is Jeb Bush in trouble? If early polls are a reflection of how famous potential candidates are, shouldn’t Mr. Bush be doing a little better? Maybe he’s not well positioned to start as the GOP establishment choice in the primaries, after all. Yes, Jeb finishes first when the Quinnipiac people poll without Mr. Romney in the mix, but only at 14 percent. That’s too close to Governor Christie for comfort.

Ben Carson! Dr. Carson is extremely unlikely to be the GOP nominee for president. The last nonpolitician to win a party nod was Dwight Eisenhower, who’d recently helped win World War II. But 8 percent as somebody who’s starting as an unknown? He’s got some organizing going on somewhere already. Either that or his book tours have made him more famous than we realized.

Hillary Clinton is not invincible. As we said last week, Hillary Rodham Clinton is a historically strong candidate for the Democratic nomination. But that’s not the same thing as being unbeatable in November 2016. She’s ahead of most GOP candidates by a comfortable margin, but not a huge one. And the Quinnipiac survey has her losing a head-to-head to ... you guessed it, Romney. He takes that one 45 to 44 percent.

OK, technically that is a tie, given the poll margin of error. But, hmm ... maybe we’ll need to readjust our 99.9999 (repeating) percent odds against his throwing his wallet into the 2016 ring.

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