2016 Primary: Cruz top choice for conservatives

October 22, 2013, 1:28 PM GMT+0

Ted Cruz's popularity among Republicans hasn't been hit by the shutdown, but he is increasingly unpopular among Independents and Democrats.

Ted Cruz, a freshman senator for Texas, is now one of the most prominent men in conservative politics, taking much of the credit in conservative circles - or, depending on your position, the blame - for causing the showdown over the Affordable Care Act that led to the federal government shutting down in the first half of October. Many suspect that Senator Cruz's vociferous opposition to Obamacare is driven by ambitions beyond the Senate, though as yet he denies that he has any plans to run for President.

The latest research from YouGov shows that while the shutdown may not have helped Ted Cruz's chances in the 2016 Republican primaries it has not hurt him either. While it is three years from the Presidential elections, and too soon to make any firm predictions, the question highlights who is viewed as a leader in the Republican Party. Polling conducted immediately before the shutdown shows that 16% of Republican want him to be their 2016 candidate, identical to the percentage who still say so in the wake of the shutdown.

Senator Cruz is a far more popular choice for the GOP's 2016 candidate among people who describe themselves as 'very conservative' instead of merely 'conservative'. 29% of 'very conservative' Americans want him to run in 2016, compared to 18% of 'conservative' Americans.

A Polarizing Figure

Notably, Ted Cruz has - in quite a short time period - managed to become one of the most prominent men in politics. He is just as well known as Mitch McConnell, leader of Republicans in the Senate, and Harry Reid, leader of Democrats in the Senate. Furthermore, he is more popular than both of them, despite the fact that the deal that ended the shutdown was largely drawn up by Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid.

Ted Cruz's favorability among Republicans is also largely unchanged since before the shutdown, though his favorability did improve between his marathon speech condemning Obamacare and the run-up to the shutdown in late September. Since then, however, the only noticeable change in opinion among Republicans is growing number (17%) who have unfavorable views of the Senator.

Beyond the Republican Party, Cruz has become an increasingly divisive figure. 43% of Americans have unfavorable views of the Texas pol, with 34% of Americans holding 'very unfavorable' opinions. 31% of the public have favorable opinions. Significantly, his unfavorability ratings have increased steadily as he becomes a national figure seen as one of the more trenchant and strong-willed conservative members of the Senate.

Unsurprisingly, Ted Cruz is highly unpopular among Democrats, with 60% having unfavorable opinions of him. Even among Independents, however, more people have unfavorable (43%) views of the Senator than favorable (31%).

Full poll results can be found here and here.

Image: Getty.

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