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Ted Cruz Tops Poll Of 2016 GOP Contenders

Cruz Filibuster

Just a few days after his non-filibuster filibuster, Ted Cruz finds himself at the top of a national poll of 2016 Republican contenders:

PPP’s newest national poll finds Ted Cruz is now the top choice of Republican primary voters to be their candidate for President in 2016. He leads the way with 20% to 17% for Rand Paul, 14% for Chris Christie, 11% for Jeb Bush, 10% each for Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, 4% for Bobby Jindal, and 3% each for Rick Santorum and Scott Walker.

Cruz has gained 8 points since our last national 2016 poll in July while everyone else has more or less stayed in place. He’s made himself the face of a government shutdown over Obamacare, and the Republican base supports that by a 64/20 margin. It’s not surprising that Republicans identifying as ‘very conservative’ support a shutdown 75/10, but even the moderate wing of the party supports it by a 46/36 margin.

Cruz is leading the GOP field based especially on his appeal to ‘very conservative’ primary voters, who he gets 34% with t0 17% for Rand Paul and 12% for Paul Ryan. Voters who fall into that ideological group make up the largest portion of the Republican electorate at 39%. With moderates Cruz gets only 4% with Christie leading at 34% to 12% for Jeb Bush and 10% for Marco Rubio, but they only account for 18% of GOP voters and thus aren’t all that relevant to Cruz’s prospects for winning a Republican nomination.

Our numbers also suggest that Cruz is now viewed more broadly as the leader of the Republican Party. When asked whether they trust Cruz or GOP leader Mitch McConnell more, Cruz wins out 49/13. When it comes to who’s more trusted between Cruz and Speaker John Boehner, Cruz has a 51/20 advantage. And when it comes to Cruz and 2008 GOP nominee and Senate colleague John McCain, Cruz wins out 52/31. He now has more credibility with the GOP base than the folks who have been leading the party for years.

The usual caveats about early polling apply here, of course, but if nothing else this is an indication that Cruz’s summer-long effort to lead the “defund Obamacare” movement, which came to a head with the events of earlier this week has had an effect on the Republican electorate. Of course, we’ve seen this happen before with other Republicans who get their names in the news for an extended period of time, ranging from Rand Paul to Chris Christie and it’s entirely possible that this will just be seen as a momentary blip for Cruz that won’t last for very long. It’s also possible, though, that this is just the beginning of Cruz publicity machine that will last all the way past the 2014 elections.

Could a freshman Senator who clearly doesn’t represent the broad middle of his party, or his country, end up winning the nomination, especially when its clear that the “establishment” of the party is going to be arrayed against him? Personally, I think it would be highly unlikely, but one never really knows in this world. At the beginning I also didn’t think that a freshman Senator from Illinois would be able to beat the Clinton machine and look what happened. (And, yes, I know that Ted Cruz is no Barack Obama.)

I said earlier this week that it was clear that Cruz’s effort was as much about building mailing and fundraising lists and enhancing his own brand as it was about actually advancing policy, perhaps more about that than anything else. To that extent, a poll like this would seem to suggest that Cruz has succeeded in his plan.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. merl says:

    Wasn’t that the purpose in the first case? After all he did vote Yes on the bill he made a floor speech attacking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Mission accomplished, I guess….just as everyone was saying: the faux-libuster was Cruz’s first speech in his quixotic quest to be come president, that’s all….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  3. john personna says:

    I think there will be a cost. This is a two part story. In the first part Cruz “succeeds” in his crusade, but in the second part “oh, sh*t” this is where we are left.

    Yesterday’s Memeorandum was all about Cruz, today’s is about how we have no functioning government.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  4. Scott says:

    A lot depends on how ambitious other Republican are. How much are they willing to tangle with Cruz. I would love to watch those debates unfold? A Santorum-Cruz fight would be a real battle of the douchebags.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  5. al-Ameda says:

    A Ted Cruz and Rand Paul ticket, why not? They get the automatic 27% and I’m sure they could scrounge up another 13% to lock up the permanently angry and resentful White vote. After that, who knows?

    I personally would subscribe to pay-per-view if the GOP went with a Cruz-Palin ticket (although I’m not sure Palin would accept second place again, and god knows that Ted considers himself to be presidential right now.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  6. legion says:

    Could a freshman Senator who clearly doesn’t represent the broad middle of his party, or his country, end up winning the nomination,

    When your major competition is Perry, Santorum, and Bachmann, it’s not that difficult.

    especially when its clear that the “establishment” of the party is going to be arrayed against him?

    That never stopped the Romney-mentum! The GOP would have lined up behind the rotting corpse of Richard Nixon if they could have found an illegal immigrant willing to dig it up for them…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  7. CSK says:

    The “base” is very fickle. They may love Cruz at this moment, but because they’re purists as well as fickle, he’ll likely do or say something grossly unacceptable between now and 2016. He won’t vow to end abortion, or he won’t promise to make same-sex marriage a federal crime, or he’ll get squishy abut immigration…it’ll be something. He’ll betray them, and they’ll be screeching that he was another RINO commie Beltway elitist all along.

    Then they’ll go back to fantasizing about President Palin.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  8. Pharoah Narim says:

    Doug, You forgot the quotation marks around “credibility” in your piece……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  9. Mike says:

    Which is why Hillary Clinton will be president next.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

  10. michael reynolds says:

    Another creepy, arrogant, entitled white guy? I don’t see any downside for the GOP in this.

    And runners up are Rand of the Uncanny Valley and an angry fat guy from Jersey who would be hated by his own base.

    On our side all we have is Hillary, Andrew Cuomo, Claire McCaskill, Deval Patrick, Kirsten Gillibrand, Villaraigosa. . .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

  11. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    This poll result provides further support for my theory that the GOP really could give two figs about governing and associated boring crap; instead, those voters simply gravitate to the guy who will be the biggest jerk to anyone who isn’t just like them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  12. john personna says:

    @this:

    Dear idiot down-voter:

    An increase in the debt ceiling isn’t something Obama “wants” and ought to consider trading for other stuff. It’s simply the case that the debt ceiling must go up to avert a catastrophe. Boehner himself acknowledges that it must go up. You bargain over things you disagree about, not over things you both think are necessary.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  13. Facebones says:

    @Scott: That reminds me of the tag line for one of the Transformers movies: “Whoever wins, we lose.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  14. Scott F. says:

    Cruz represents the best potential to test the proposition, put forth in a post of Doug’s from couple months back, that the hard right needs to have a “real conservative” get his clock cleaned before the GOP can possibly move back from the precipice toward the center.

    As commenters noted then, there’s not much reason to believe that it would work – conservatism never fails, it is only failed – but I think Cruz has everything needed to give the theory a try. Let’s hope the conservatives give it a go.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  15. C. Clavin says:

    What do you know…apparently there is a God.
    I will give thanks to her tonight before I sleep.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @al-Ameda: god knows that Ted considers himself to be presidential King like right now.

    FTFY

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The only thing that surprised me about that poll was that Ted didn’t have the 27% locked up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  18. Moosebreath says:

    “He’s made himself the face of a government shutdown over Obamacare, and the Republican base supports that by a 64/20 margin. It’s not surprising that Republicans identifying as ‘very conservative’ support a shutdown 75/10, but even the moderate wing of the party supports it by a 46/36 margin.”

    And people wonder why the Republicans are going to be blamed for a shutdown. If you are screaming at the top of your lungs for a shutdown, then you need to own the consequences of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    On our side all we have is Hillary, Andrew Cuomo, Claire McCaskill, Deval Patrick, Kirsten Gillibrand, Villaraigosa. . .

    Michael, I don’t see Claire primary-ing very well. Some of the positoins she has taken are just to the left of Attila the Hun**. She is a red state Dem. A little too red state for NY, MA,CA, IL, etc. I see Gov. Jay Nixon as a more viable national candidate. He was not afraid to veto a law nullifying any new Federal gun regulations in MO. Plus, his term is up in 2016.

    **An exaggeration I suppose I should point out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  20. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Scott F.:

    The problem is–as Florack will attest–as soon as Cruz loses, he will be termed a RINO:

    -His father’s Cuban, so genetically he has sum sochulizm in him.
    -He was born in Canada, so he was probably indoctrinated in the womb.
    -He worked for the W. admin, which has already been retroactively declared anti-conservative (and to be fair, in most respects that is correct)

    The list goes on. Conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @C. Clavin:

    What do you know…apparently there is a God.

    And she is a comedian playing to an audience afraid to laugh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Jay also vetoed a law cutting the state income tax and the state corporate tax saying, correctly, that those would have gutted the budget. Amazingly enough, there were more than a few GOP that agreed with him and his veto was sustained. Of course, those GOPers just want to come back next year with the same tax cuts but offset them with sales tax increases.

    Apparently, gutting the poor and the middle class is OK.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  23. J-Dub says:

    Where/when can I donate to his campaign?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. al-Ameda says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    The only thing that surprised me about that poll was that Ted didn’t have the 27% locked up.

    From the article: :

    He leads the way with 20% to 17% for Rand Paul,

    Yes, but Paul and Cruz together exceed the 27%.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  25. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: And this is going to kill Christie in the general, because his only way to compete against Cruz is to prove he can be an even bigger dick… which is going to get Cruz to up his dickishness… and then Christie will have to raise again. So by the end of the primaries, there won’t be a single non-Republican who would vote for him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  26. Scott F. says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Well, I think Cubans who have bravely fled from Cuba are still held in good esteem by the far right, so he’s likely covered on that front, but I was neglecting the Canuck angle. He’s definitely vulnerable there.

    But in all honesty, I still think the only path out of the wilderness for the Republicans is through a hardcore conservative firebrand. For the 27% rump to which Florack belongs, frankly there is no possible candidate that couldn’t ultimately be recast as a traitor to the conservative cause. Hell, Zombie Reagan would be termed a RINO when he lost. But, I’m thinking about the other 17% who make up the consistent GOP voter base who I think are still open to the “conservatism has never been wholeheartedly fought for” argument that’s always brought out by the hardliners. This is the ground on which Cruz is currently making hay and it will likely be the ongoing loss of those voters that spurs change in the GOP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  27. john personna says:

    @wr:

    If the party is nuts in 2016, Christie wouild be best off not running … unless of course he can generate a surplus in campaign accounts, to be used later.

    The only explanation I see for 3rd stringers stepping up time and again is that there must be a pseudo-profit motive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. Ernieyeball says:

    Ted Cruz can name Ted Nugent for VP and Ted Baxter as his Press Secretary.
    With that ticket I don’t see how the Republican Party can lose!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  29. TheoNott says:

    For a Democrat, this is great news. While I really doubt he can actually win the nomination, (he is too polarizing and combative, which means he makes a good attack dog but can’t serve as a symbol of his party) if he actually does get nominated he would lose in a landslide. Don’t give me any of that liberal faux-pessimism about how he could succeed by rallying all the wingnuts, blah blah, no, he would lose in a landslide. I’m talking 100 electoral votes for Cruz. Forget about Ohio and Florida – they wouldn’t be competitive. Montana, Arizona, Georgia, and Missouri might all be carried by the Democrat. And, oh boy, having him at the top of the ticket would devastate the Senate GOP…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  30. C. Clavin says:

    @ Ernie…
    Then there is Ted…from Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  31. William Wilgus says:

    @Mike: Hillary? God, I hope not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  32. Ernieyeball says:

    @C. Clavin: Was Ted the stiff or am I thinking of another movie?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. jukeboxgrad says:

    grumpy:

    his quixotic quest to be come president

    Cruz is not planning to become president of the United States. He just wants to be president of the tea party. A much easier job, much better pay, and no term limits. And he is well-qualified for the position because he knows how to fleece the rubes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  34. Mr. Replica says:

    IF/When Cruz gets the nod and loses, the GOP will have no one but themselves to blame.

    HA! I can’t believe I just said that.

    “No one but themselves to blame.”
    That will be the day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  35. superdestroyer says:

    Who cares? Can anyone name one state that Cruz would carry that was lost by Romney? Speculating about the irrelevant Republican Primaries and nomination process is a waste of time unless someone can come up with a reasonable scenario that would lead to the election of a Republican.

    Think of all of the wasted typing and speculation that could be used for something other that speculating who the Republicans will nominate to lose in a rout to whoever the Democrats nominate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  36. Iynaroc03 says:

    The margins are so small that this poll is meaningless and also coupled with fact that 2016 is 3 years away. Ted Cruz is not a ‘general election’ material. He’s a sure bet for the Democrats to retain the White House.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  37. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Not a chance for Cuomo, McCaskill, or Villaraigosa. They are not Ivy League graduates (undergraduate or graduate level) The same can be said for Biden. It has been 1984 since the Democrats have nominated someone who had not graduated from Harvard or Yale. I doubt if the Democrats are going to start now. Gillibrand is a Dartmouth graduate and I doubt that will be good enough for the NYC oriented media.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  38. TheoNott says:

    “Who cares? Can anyone name one state that Cruz would carry that was lost by Romney?”
    - superdestroyer

    Exactly. Cruz doubtless knows he can’t ever become President, and I don’t think he’s trying to. He would govern much more noncontroversially if he were- that’s how you position yourself for a Presidential nomination. He wants to be a conservative celebrity, which, as someone else noted above, is much more profitable and comes with much less responsibility. Rand Paul, on the other hand, seems to me like he may actually be genuinely interested in the Oval Office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  39. labman57 says:

    Let’s flash back to the same time period prior to the 2012 election and reflect upon the conservative flash-in-the-pain saviors who were … all so briefly … deemed the “leading candidate” for the Republican nomination for POTUS:

    Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herm Cain, Ron Paul, … Donald Trump.

    Teddy “don’t hate me because I’m nuts” Cruz is simply the latest iteration of a POTUS wannabe doomed for the scrap pile of tea party has-beens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. Wiliam says:

    The only reason some rep. and Dem. are scared is because they have to wait to see how they are supposed to feel after there polls they have been swing on stop spinning. Don’t worry Obama called Putin and he said he would help him especially with his Muslim friends that like the USA so much. Mr. Cruz does not hide behind the polls kind of like when Hilary got ill before she had to delay two weeks to talk about killing Four Americans on her watch but she did tell Congress get over it there dead move on, if only she would take her own advice!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  41. bk says:

    You’re talking about 2020 after President Rick Perry finishes his second term, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  42. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Wiliam: Does at any point does it dawn on you that the worldview thru which you interpret current events ceased being practical about 20 years ago? New world, new enemies, new threats and all you have is the same ole tired boogie men. Hillary, Russia, Big Government, Democrats, Socialism, Communism…blah…blah….blah…blah

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “Think of all of the wasted typing and speculation that could be used for something other that speculating who the Republicans will nominate to lose in a rout to whoever the Democrats nominate. ”

    So. Start. Your. Own. Blog. And. Talk. About. What. You. Want.

    Or stop f*cking complaining about the people who run this blog talking about things you don’t tihnk are important.

    It’s a big country. Go find someplace you actually like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. superdestroyer says:

    @wr:

    But why do all of the the MSM blogger and media focus on a nomination process that will produce a candidate that has zero chance of ever being president. The media does not mention the nomination process of the libertarians or the green parties. Why should the media focus any attention on the Republican nominee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0