The results do not necessarily reflect primary voters. But the lukewarm response comes as Bush's struggling campaign is cutting costs and shifting its focus to early voting states.
Read MoreStruggling Jeb Bush campaign downsizes
The campaign planned to reduce payroll by 40 percent, chopping salaries across the board except for entry-level staff, a source told CNBC last week. The once clear front-runner trails political outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson in some recent polls in Iowa, a key early voting state.
Bush was aggressive near the debate's start, challenging Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on his voting record. But he largely faded to the background through the rest of the event.
Last week, Bush's campaign continued to stress that it is setting up for long-term success through the primary cycle.