Republican Voters Now See Ted Cruz as Their Leader

ted cruz count

A Public Policy Polling national poll released today finds that among Republican voters Ted Cruz is now the favorite GOP candidate for President in 2016. The same poll also found that by lopsided margins, Republican voters trust Ted Cruz more than either Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker John Boehner.

While Cruz’s faux filibuster stunt was rebuked by fellow GOP Senators, it appears to have won him the hearts and minds of the tea-stained Republican electorate, dominated as it is by staunchly conservative voters. Cruz now leads the GOP field for President according to the PPP poll, garnering 20 percent to 17 percent for runner up Rand Paul. Christ Christie polls at 14 percent followed by Jeb Bush (11 percent), Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan (each at 10 percent).  Republicans who identify themselves as “very conservative” support Cruz by a 34 to 17 percent margin over his nearest challenger, Rand Paul.

Perhaps more importantly, Republican voters trust Ted Cruz over Mitch McConnell by a gaudy 49 to 13 margin, and they trust Cruz over John Boehner by a 51 to 20 percent spread. It is clear that the Republican leadership in Congress is distrusted even by Republican voters and that Ted Cruz is earning popularity by challenging the GOP leadership. It is also clear that Republican primary voters have embraced Ted Cruz’s extreme views and his hard line politics and that they have little interest in compromise or effective governance. The shut it down mentality has become a popular position within the GOP voting base, meaning we can expect more brinkmanship legislative stunts by republican politicians trying to curry favor with the far right base that now makes up a major and influential portion of the GOP electorate.

In 2010, Republican leaders did all they could to fire up angry voters to attend town meetings and disrupt proceedings in opposition to the Affordable Care Act and other policies supported by Barack Obama and House Democrats. They helped served up heated rhetoric to gin up aroused conservative voters in order to get them to vote out liberal members of Congress. Of course their overblown rhetoric planted the seeds that helped form the modern Tea Party movement, and now that movement threatens to consume the very Republican leadership that helped create it.

Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have lost control of the Republican Party and handed  its future to hardcore ideologues like Texas Senator Ted Cruz. While Cruz is increasingly popular with Republican voters, his appeal with Independents and Democrats is very thin. Republicans may like his uncompromising rhetoric and his arrogant in your face style, but in a national general election choosing Ted Cruz as the party’s nominee will be a recipe for political disaster. The GOP voters should be warned that they will lose if they go with Cruz. However, since they are not much interested in reality based reasoning, those warnings will almost certainly fall on deaf ears.

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