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Team Jeb’s latest attempt to attack Donald Trump is almost cartoonishly bad

Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

Jeb Bush's Super PAC, which has famously spent tens of millions of dollars on ineffective TV ads, unveiled a new attempt to get attention on Thursday, when its top adviser, Mike Murphy, tweeted the following:

So Bush's Super PAC appears to have paid to put up at least one billboard in Iowa that simply quotes Bush saying, "Donald Trump is unhinged." Given Murphy's tweet, it seems to be an attempt to provoke Trump into an intemperate response (and probably a desperate bid for media attention, which at least sort of worked, given that I'm writing this article).

The problem here is that it's a bit unclear whether this is supposed to be an anti-Trump billboard ... or a pro-Trump billboard.

After all, Bush is not at all popular in Iowa!

When the candidates' favorability ratings among likely Republican caucus-goers are measured, Trump is a good deal more popular than Bush (whose net favorability is underwater, meaning that more people view him unfavorably than favorably).

So when Republicans read a simple quote from the unpopular Jeb Bush condemning Trump, it might well make them like Trump more. It does, after all, further drive home Trump's anti-establishment credentials. One billboard surely won't change the race at all, but if Bush's team continues to pursue this messaging strategy, they may find that it backfires.