Even though favorability of the Republican Party has sunk to a new all time low this week, a new PPP poll found that Republicans see Cruz as their leader.
Sen. Ted Cruz caused the government shutdown. He is the reason why approval of the Republican sunk to a new record low of 22% this week. One might think that the last person Republicans would view as their new leader would be the man who is most responsible for their misery. However, the Republican Party is in a place where they reward failure if it is done in the name of ideological purity.
This is exactly what has happened to Ted Cruz. According to a new PPP poll, 21% of GOP voters selected the Texas senator as their leader. Seventeen percent picked Chris Christie, 15% chose John Boehner, 9% went with Rand Paul, Mitt Romney showed up with 8%, John McCain was selected by 7%. Sarah Palin and Mitch McConnell each received 4%. Interestingly, Democrats (25%) and Independents (27%) both see Chris Christie as the leader of the GOP.
If Cruz runs for president in 2016, he will be a weak general election candidate. As this poll demonstrates, non-Republicans would like to see a moderate, or at least moderate sounding person at the top of the GOP ticket. However,the presence of Ted Cruz in the primary contest will force all of the Republican presidential candidates to the right. The changes that the RNC are considering making to the primary structure could also help a candidate like Cruz. The RNC wants fewer debates, but fewer debates would give a candidate like Christie less of a chance to win over the far right base that loves Sen. Cruz.
The one clear point being made by Republicans in this poll is that they don’t care about winning. The party’s rank and file want the White House back, but they want it if it comes with a president who passes their ideological purity test. Chtistie will never be ideologically pure enough for them.
Instead of trying to rebuild their party, Republicans want Ted Cruz to burn it down.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association