Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Both Viewed Very Badly Outside The GOP

The two men most likely to win the Republican nomination aren't very well liked outside the Republican Party.

Donald Trump Ted Cruz

For better or worse, it seems rather clear at this point that the Republican nominee for President will be either Donald Trump or Texas Senator Ted Cruz. For all of the alternative scenarios that may be playing out in the minds of some pundits — whether it involves John Kasich somehow winning the nomination or the party turning to a candidate who hasn’t even been through the nomination process, there are really only two realistic ways that the Republican National Convention can turn out. In the first scenario, Donald Trump will walk into the convention with enough delegates to get the nomination, or nearly so to the point that denying it to him would be incredibly difficult for the GOP, and he’ll win the nomination on the first ballot. In the second scenario, Trump will be unable to get a majority on the first ballot and the convention will go to a second or third ballot, in which case Cruz will most likely win the nomination due to the manner in which his campaign has outplayed all the others when it comes to delegate selection. Unfortunately for the GOP, neither choice seems to be very palatable to the general public, and that bodes poorly for the General Election:

Donald Trump ranks as the most unpopular top-tier presidential contender in more than 30 years of ABC News/Washington Post polls, trailing only former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke among presidential candidates in any election year since 1984.

At the same time, the unpopularity of Trump’s main rival, Ted Cruz, has reached its highest level yet this election cycle. John Kasich breaks even in basic popularity, with many – at this late stage of the primary season – still yet to form an opinion of the Ohio governor.

Trump’s seen unfavorably by 67 percent of Americans in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. That’s unchanged from last month and slightly off his high, 71 percent unfavorable in an ABC/Post poll nearly year ago. A majority strongly dislikes him, also unprecedented for a leading candidate.

Duke was rated unfavorably by 69 percent of Americans in an ABC/Post poll in February 1992; he went on to win fewer than 120,000 votes, and no delegates in his bid for that year’s GOP presidential nomination. Trump has won more than 8 million votes to date.

What’s perhaps most striking is how much of a difference there is between how these two candidates are viewed by Republicans and how they are viewed by the public as a whole:

Within his party, 56 percent of Republicans see Trump favorably, and it’s similar for Cruz, 58 percent, while lower for the lesser-known Kasich, 47 percent. The difference among all adults is that independents and especially Democrats hold more negative views of Trump than of either of his competitors. Kasich has the most cross-partisan appeal.

Notably, about four in 10 Republicans see each of these candidates unfavorably. For comparison, Mitt Romney was seen favorably by 69 percent of Republicans at this time in 2012 and unfavorably by just 20 percent.


[W]ithin the GOP, Cruz has a +20-point net positive score; Trump’s is +14 and Kasich’s +7. Cruz does vastly better among his biggest backers in the primaries, very conservative Republicans, +55 points in favorability, vs. +1 for Kasich and -1 for Trump. (The sample size of very conservative Republicans is small, but the result is significant and aligns with exit polls.)

Cruz, though, sustains a sharp drop-off among less conservative Republicans, to +7, compared to +23 in this group for Trump (and +9 for Kasich).

Kasich breaks about even in popularity among political independents and Democrats alike. Cruz is far behind, -25 and -39 from independents and Democrats, respectively; Trump, -37 and a remarkable -75.

Among other groups, Trump continues to do much worse among women, -51 in popularity, than among men, -22. That includes a big difference among Republican men and women, +30 vs. -4. Cruz and Kasich have no appreciable gender gap.

Trump also has a massive race/ethnicity gap. While he’s more unpopular than popular by 20 points among whites, that balloons to 65 points among nonwhites, including -84 and -66 among blacks and Hispanics, respectively. Cruz is seen similarly by whites and nonwhites, while Kasich is +7 among whites, -15 among nonwhites.

Finally, Trump’s education gap also continues, and he’s joined here by Cruz: Both are more unpopular among college graduates than among non-grads. It’s the opposite pattern for Kasich.

To be fair, Hillary Clinton’s numbers are also negative at this point, but her favorable/unfavorable numbers (46%/52%) are still better than Ted Cruz’s (36%/53%) at this point, and the fact that Clinton has been a known factor in American politics for more than twenty years now and it’s unlikely that these net unfavorable numbers are going to hurt her quite as much as some people seem to think. With Trump and Cruz, though, Republicans find themselves stuck with two candidates that represent the worst possible choices for anyone who actually wants to win a General Election. This reality is also reflected in the Head-to-Head General Election polls, all of which have to be bad news for any Republican interested in winning in November. Donald Trump, for example, is currently losing by double digits to both Clinton and Sanders in these polls, while Ted Cruz is losing by slightly narrower margins to both candidates. This contrasts notably with previous years when the same head-to-head polling showed candidates like John McCain and Mitt Romney at least being competitive against their Democratic opponents.

None of this bodes well for a Republican Party already looking at an Electoral College disadvantage heading into 2016. As I’ve noted before, in order to win the Presidency, Republicans would need to hold on to all of the states that Mitt Romney won in 2012, as well as winning in Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and at least one other state. With negatives as high as the ones he has, it’s difficult to see Donald Trump being able to do this even if he is able to somewhat increase the GOP share of the white vote over what Romney received four years ago. Similarly, it’s hard to see Ted Cruz doing any better than Romney did four years ago, and especially hard to see him winning in states like Virginia and Ohio. Additionally, with unpopular candidates like Trump or Cruz at the top of their ticket, Republicans will need to worry even more than they already should be about losing control of the Senate are both men are likely to put the re-election bids of candidates like Kelly Ayotte and Rob Portman at considerable risk, as well as the potential impact either of these candidates could have on GOP hopes to capture Senate seats in Nevada and Colorado.

In other words, Republicans are stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place and it’s unlikely to turn out well no matter which candidate the GOP nominates.


FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. PJ says:

    Additionally, with unpopular candidates like Trump or Cruz at the top of their ticket, Republicans will need to worry even more than they already should be about losing control of the Senate are both men are likely to put the re-election bids of candidates like Kelly Ayotte and Rob Portman at considerable risk, as well as the potential impact either of these candidates could have on GOP hopes to capture Senate seats in Nevada and Colorado.

    Shouldn’t worry too much about that, until the Sanders campaign release a list of which Democrats in or running for Congress are “Corporate Whores”, I assume the Sandernistas won’t be voting for any of them.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    Bedrock Democrats are smiling in their sleep i bet..


  3. gVOR08 says:

    Conservatives have spent decades building an explicitly conservative media infrastructure, the aptly named Conservative Entertainment Complex or Conservative Echo Chamber. Within that echo chamber:
    – Obama is a Kenyan Muslim
    – Obama is a total incompetent who controls every detail of government
    – the W admin wasn’t a bloody disaster and in any case it was Obama’s fault
    – cutting taxes for rich people is the answer to whatever ails you
    – evolution is false
    – AGW isn’t real and in any case there’s nothing we can do about it
    – the Iran nuke treaty is a disaster
    – ACA is the worst thing ever done
    and on and on, endlessly until their audience, and themselves, have become totally detached from reality. And people outside the echo chamber hold different views. Go figure.

  4. Pch101 says:

    [W]ithin the GOP, Cruz has a +20-point net positive score; Trump’s is +14 and Kasich’s +7. Cruz does vastly better among his biggest backers in the primaries, very conservative Republicans, +55 points in favorability, vs. +1 for Kasich and -1 for Trump.

    The establishment brought the crazies to the party. Now they get to dance with them.

  5. An Interested Party says:

    Chickens coming home to roost…Republicans have no one to blame but themselves…Hillary, much like her husband as well as the man she served as Secretary of State, is blessed with the particular enemies she has…

  6. Gromitt Gunn says:

    It couldn’t happen to nicer folks.

  7. john430 says:

    It looks like a wash. 57% of the electorate doesn’t trust or like Hillary either and Bernie is a throwback to infantile Marxism . As a nation we get the politicians we deserve.

  8. gVOR08 says:


    Bernie is a throwback to infantile Marxism

    Get a clue.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @john430: Marxist !== Socialist.

    But I’m sure that Socialist == Marxist == Communist in your brain-space…..

  10. Pch101 says:


    a throwback to infantile Marxism

    I am also not a fan of Harpo’s work.

  11. Dave Francis says:

    A secret U.S. Govt. Banking Program Facilitates Remittances to Mexico

    A turbulent movement is arising as America is finally awake, to the loss of jobs, thousands of companies moving overseas, while amid the discord Donald Trump ignited idea to block money transfers to Mexico until it funds for a wall. It’s important to note that a U.S. government program is largely responsible for the billions in remittances flowing south of the border from illegal immigrants.

    The program is called “Directo a Mexico” (Direct to Mexico) and the Federal Reserve, the government agency that serves as the nation’s central bank, launched it nearly a decade ago. Judicial Watch investigated the outrageous taxpayer-subsidized initiative and obtained government records back in 2006. It was created by President George W. Bush following the 2001 U.S.-Mexico.

    Partnership for Prosperity undermines our nation’s immigration laws and is a potential national security nightmare. The goal was to provide low-cost banking services to illegal immigrants and facilitate the process for those sending money home. Remittances are transferred through the Federal Reserve’s own automated clearinghouse linked directly to Mexico’s central bank (Banco de Mexico).

    At the time Federal Reserve officials acknowledged that most of the Mexicans who send money home are illegal immigrants so a Mexican-issued identification is the only requirement to use the government banking service. A colorful brochure promoting “Directo a Mexico” offered to help immigrants who don’t have bank accounts and assured the best foreign exchange rate and low transfer fees. A frequently asked question section posed this: “If I return to Mexico or am deported, will I lose the money in my bank account?” The answer: “No. The money still belongs to you and can easily be accessed at an ATM in Mexico using your debit card.” In short, the U.S. created this special banking system specifically for illegal aliens and tens of billions of dollars have flowed through it, according to figures obtained by JW from Banco de Mexico.

    Under the Republican presidential candidate’s plan, an anti-terrorism law would be used to halt remittances made by illegal aliens unless Mexico makes a payment of $5 billion to $10 billion for a wall along the southern border. President Obama called it a “half-baked” plan that would create turmoil within the Mexican economy and would result in more Mexicans fleeing to the U.S. looking for work, according to a news report. Mexico’s largest newspaper writes this week that Trump has shaken up that country’s government and his hostility towards Mexicans has threatened to make the U.S. a nightmare for all Mexicans, even if the billionaire businessman doesn’t win the presidential election.

    The U.S. is the largest source of these money transfers sent overseas by foreign-born residents, known as remittances, with an estimated $54.2 billion sent from this country in 2014, according to the World Bank. The World Bank has estimated that remittance outflows will reach $586 billion in 2015 and grow another 4.1 percent in 2016.

    Read thousands of facts from the pages of The Corruption Files of Judicial Watch gives you the ugly truth, not found in the Republican or Democratic owned media.

  12. Dave Francis says:


    Boeing says it will cut more than, 4,500 jobs. The continuation of outsourcing to Mexico (NAFTA) will cause the company to decrease its workforce in the US. This outsourcing to foreign countries is a continue effect on our economy, as hundreds of thousands of jobs vanish to other countries. Our steel industry has suffered the auto and vehicle parts are now manufactured in Mexico and other foreign nations.

    Who are Donald Trump Supporters?

    1. We are sick of Political correctness.
    2. We like the fact that Trump is self-funding.
    3. Trump owes no Wealthy donors any favors.
    4. We are fed up with the corruption in Washington DC.
    5. We hate the Liberal ideology.
    6. We are tired of financially supporting illegal aliens.
    7. Hillary belongs in prison.
    8. We want a wall on the Southern border.
    9. We want our jobs back from Mexico and overseas.
    10. We want ISIS eliminated, “Not contained”?
    11. We want Obamacare repealed.
    12. We want our military revitalized, not decimated.
    13. We want our Vets given the healthcare and entitlements they deserve.
    14 Illegal immigrants should not be settled here.
    15. We want a temporary halt on Muslims.
    16. Sheria law should not be tolerated, as it’s not compatible with the US Constitution.
    17. Offering safety to 100,000 Syrian Refugees, but not caring for 50,000 homeless Vets.
    18. Removal of thousands of irrelevant Rule and regulations crushing new businesses and thousands of issues.
    19. Repealing Common Core education and returning it to locale jurisdiction.

    If you don’t Ted Cruz is not part of the GOP establishment, than be aware that he accumulated $4.8 million dollars, with only 3 years in the Senate. Then John Kasick with just 6 years as Governor of Ohio is now worth $22 million. These two politicians were elected to work for us, and are tired of the GOP establishment, by getting rich of the American people. This is why citizens, who are unsure who to vote for, should see that the extremely wealthy cannot buy Trump and his allegiance to Special Interests.

  13. J-Dub says:

    Lighten up, Francis.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @Dave Francis: Your right that Trump can’t be bought. He was born bought.

  15. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Dave Francis:

    15. We want a temporary halt on Muslims.
    17. Offering safety to 100,000 Syrian Refugees, but not caring for 50,000 homeless Vets.

    I’m not sure how feasible that first one will be. I bet you can halt some of them–ask them to not leave their apartment, maybe take a few days off from work, sure. But that’s just if you can talk to them one-on-one. Halting all of them worldwide is really going to take some coordination. As long as you let them know it’s temporary, though, they’ll probably acquiesce eventually.

    That other point though–that you want 100,000 refugees instead of caring for 50,000 homeless vets is probably easier to accomplish. Since the U.S. is set to take, IIRC, 10,000 refugees, you’re really going to have to lobby your representatives to increase that number, but it’s totes doable. Federally we probably do take care of more than 50,000 homeless people a year in some way, so you’ll also have talk to your Reps about reducing that aid. That’s going to be a harder sell. Politicians and normal human beings tend to balk at the idea that we should be doing less for our vets.

  16. gVOR08 says:


    I am also not a fan of Harpo’s work.

    Apropos of nothing, a few days ago somebody commented that if you mention Lenin to people these days, they’ll probably think you mean the Beatle. I replied with a link to an old Firesign Theater comedy album (rmember those) with cover art reading All Hail, Marx, Lennon. Some years ago I read some econ history that did an anecdote about, IIRC, Keynes visiting Moscow in the 30s. Said he met Marx. The writer managed to leave a pause for you to go “Marx? Moscow..he died…what?”, before saying it was Harpo Marx, on a European tour.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @Dave Francis: I do hope that you get Obamacare repealed, lose your health insurance, then discover you have cancer.

    Then try to get health insurance again.

  18. PJ says:

    @Dave Francis:
    You should add free mental health care to your list.

    I think that’s what would help you the most.

  19. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Dave Francis: When I was a young person growing up in Seattle, Boeing used to cut 4,500 employees at the end of a production cycle in Seattle alone. The fact of their only cutting that many in this case may simply be a sign of how many fewer people they employ to begin with.

  20. Buffalo Rude says:

    @Dave Francis: Do your bosses at Judicial Watch pay you to troll comment threads? Since they don’t seem to pay you to practice law, I mean.

  21. DrDaveT says:

    What’s perhaps most striking is how much of a difference there is between how these two candidates are viewed by Republicans and how they are viewed by the public as a whole:

    What’s perhaps most striking is that this surprises anyone at all who doesn’t watch a lot of Fox News.

  22. Pch101 says:


    I would like to think of myself as a Lennonist, but his last few albums forced me to defect.

  23. Liberal Capitalist says:


    … a throwback to infantile Marxism . As a nation we get the politicians we deserve.

    Well, I think it has a LOT to do with how the GOP negotiates deals…

    The following is a copy of the deal that happened in Colorado GOP back room that gave the delegates to “Lyin’ Ted”. (or so I have been told by party apparatchiks)

    Groucho Marx: Now pay particular attention to this first clause, because it’s most important. There’s the party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part. How do you like that, that’s pretty neat eh?

    Chico Marx: No, that’s no good.

    Groucho Marx: What’s the matter with it?

    Chico Marx: I don’t know, let’s hear it again.

    Groucho Marx: So the party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part.

    Chico Marx: Well it sounds a little better this time.

    Groucho Marx: Well, it grows on you. Would you like to hear it once more?

    Chico Marx: Just the first part.

    Groucho Marx: What do you mean, the party of the first part?

    Chico Marx: No, the first part of the party, of the first part.

    Groucho Marx: All right. It says the first part of the party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the first part of the party of the first part, shall be known in this contract – look, why should we quarrel about a thing like this, we’ll take it right out, eh?

    Chico Marx: Yes, it’s too long anyhow. Now what have we got left?

    Groucho Marx: Well I’ve got about a foot and a half. Now what’s the matter?

    Chico Marx: I don’t like the second party either.

    Groucho Marx: Well, you should have come to the first party, we didn’t get home till around four in the morning. I was blind for three days.

    Chico Marx: Hey look, why can’t the first part of the second party be the second part of the first party, then you’ll get something.

    Groucho Marx: Well look, rather than go through all that again, what do you say?

    Chico Marx: Fine.

    Groucho Marx: Now I’ve got something here you’re bound to like, you’ll be crazy about it.

    Chico Marx: No, I don’t like it.

    Groucho Marx: You don’t like what?

    Chico Marx: Whatever it is, I don’t like it.

    Groucho Marx: Well don’t let’s break up an old friendship over a thing like that. Ready?

    Chico Marx: OK. Now the next part I don’t think you’re going to like.

    Groucho Marx: Well your word’s good enough for me. Now then, is my word good enough for you?

    Chico Marx: I should say not.

    Groucho Marx: Well I’ll take out two more clauses. Now the party of the eighth part —

    Chico Marx: No, that’s no good, no.

    Groucho Marx: The party of the ninth part —

    Chico Marx: No, that’s no good too. Hey, how is it my contract is skinnier than yours?

    Groucho Marx: Well, I don’t know, you must have been out on a tail last night. But anyhow, we’re all set now, are we? Now just you put your name right down there, then the deal is legal.

    Chico Marx: I forgot to tell you, I can’t write.

    Groucho Marx: Well that’s all right, there’s no ink in the pen anyhow. But listen, it’s a contract isn’t it? We’ve got a contract, no matter how small it is.

    Chico Marx: Oh sure. You bet. Hey wait, wait. What does this say here, this thing here?

    Groucho Marx: Oh that? Oh that’s the usual clause, that’s in every contract. That just says, it says, ‘If any of the parties participating in this contract are shown not to be in their right mind, the entire agreement is automatically nullified.’

    Chico Marx: Well, I don’t know.

    Groucho Marx: It’s all right, that’s in every contract. That’s what they call a sanity clause.

    Chico Marx: You can’t fool me, there ain’t no sanity clause.

  24. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Buffalo Rude: Dave Francis is a lawyer? Really? You (or he) expect me to believe that? Not literate enough to put two coherent sentences end on end, and yet a lawyer. Naaah. Not buying it.

  25. Pch101 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Dave didn’t pass the bar. He went into the bar and never left.

  26. Argon says:

    I think we can stop with the ‘people don’t like Cruz and Trump’ articles. It’s like reminding people that ‘water is wet’. Even the dimmest human understands by now.

  27. stonetools says:

    The good thing about Dave Francis posting is that it reminds its that the base right wing voter is not a reasonable type like Mataconis or Joyner, but a raging, delusional nut job. Well done, Limbaugh, Fox News, and the rest of the right wing BS machine. You, and the establishment Republicans who enabled you, have created this monster base. It’s too bad the rest of us have to live with the consequences.

  28. Pch101 says:


    I don’t think that it’s fair to claim that most Republicans are dumb or crazy.

    What is probably more accurate is that the dumb and crazy people among us who are drawn to politics are more likely to prefer the Republicans.