A Public Policy Polling (PPP) national survey conducted from March 26-31, 2015 shows Ted Cruz pulling into contention with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, for the GOP presidential nomination. The survey, released on April 1st, but apparently not as an April Fool’s joke, shows Ted Cruz gaining ground on the leaders, and sitting in a strong third place position for the Republican nomination. His presidential announcement speech at Liberty University appears to have resonated with Republican voters.
Cruz has surged from 5 percent support a little over a month ago, to 16 percent now. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker still leads with 20 percent support. Jeb Bush is in second at 17 percent and Ted Cruz is at 16 percent. Ben Carson and Rand Paul sit at 10 percent each. Four other candidates (Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, and Rick Perry) remain mired in the single digits.
With Republican Party voters, Ted Cruz is popular. 52 percent of GOP voters have a favorable opinion of Senator Cruz, to just 30 percent who view him unfavorably. His support is especially strong with Republicans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters. With Tea Party Republicans, Cruz enjoys a 74 percent favorable rating to 21 percent unfavorable rating.
It would be very easy to dismiss Senator Cruz’s candidacy as a joke, given his penchant for outlandish remarks, and impractical proposals like abolishing the IRS and repealing every single word of Obamacare. However, his particular brand of madness seems to have attracted him new supporters from within the ranks of the GOP electorate.
Polling consistently shows that Republican voters are not warming up to Jeb Bush’s candidacy. GOP primary voters are seeking a more conservative alternative who will give voice to their radical right-wing perspectives, informed as they are by talk radio hosts and the 24/7 bash Obama cycle over at FOX News.
Senator Cruz has tapped into Republican resentment, stoking the politics of rage to fuel his campaign. Whether or not his polling surge is but a temporary bump, or a more permanent boost that could make him a threat to seize the Republican nomination, remains to be seen. But one thing is now clear. Ted Cruz’s policy prescriptions may still be a joke, but his candidacy no longer is. America had better be ready because if Senator Cruz’s momentum continues to grow, the Republican primary could descend into madness, dragging the whole country along for the ride.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.