AUSTIN, Texas — Now that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been joined by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the presidential race, and other candidates are inching closer to throwing their hats in the ring, the Cruz campaign is touting several recent polls that show he is continuing to be a top contender in the Republican presidential primary.
On Thursday, the campaign released a memo from Chris Wilson, Cruz’s Director of Research and Analytics and the CEO of WPA Opinion Research, which details the results from polls conducted over the past few weeks.
“The latest round of national and early state polls show Senator Cruz firmly in the top tier of candidates only three weeks after announcing his candidacy and with several more announced candidates in the race,” wrote Wilson.
As Breitbart News reported earlier this month, Cruz enjoyed a bump in the polls immediately after his announcement on March 23rd, both nationally and in key primary states.
So far, Cruz has been able to sustain those results. However, all of these polls were conducted before Rubio entered the race on April 13, and some were partially or totally completed before Paul’s April 7th announcement. It remains to be seen whether Rubio, Paul, or any of the other Republican candidates yet to join the race will enjoy the same surge in the polls that Cruz did.
Among the polls cited in Wilson’s memo, the national polls showed that Cruz was in the top tier of candidates, and polls in early primary states showed strong favorability ratings and other signs of strength.
A Monmouth University poll conducted from March 30th-April 2nd showed former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) receiving 13 percent of the vote, and then Cruz tied with Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), each with 11 percent. The poll questioned by telephone 355 registered voters who identified as Republican or Republican-leaning and had a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percent.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted March 26th-March 29th likewise showed Bush in the lead with 20 percent, followed by Walker at 13 percent and Cruz at 12 percent. This question was asked of 444 poll respondents out of a random national sample who were Republican or Republican-leaning independents. The margin of error was +/- 5.5 percent.
Looking at the full results from that WaPo/ABC poll, it should be noted that Bush was the best known but also had the highest negative results among all potential Republican candidates, including in the question about whether respondents had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of them: 53 percent unfavorable to 33 percent favorable, and 14 percent with no opinion.
Among the other candidates included in this question: Cruz received 45 percent unfavorable, 25 percent favorable, 30 percent no opinion; Walker, 30 percent unfavorable, 23 percent favorable, 47 percent no opinion; Rubio, 38 percent unfavorable, 24 favorable, 38 percent no opinion; Paul, 42 percent unfavorable, 29 percent favorable, 29 percent no opinion; and Gov. Chris Christie, 51 percent unfavorable, 26 percent favorable, 24 percent no opinion. Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton, the sole Democrat officially in the race with the highest name recognition among all contenders, received 46 percent unfavorable, 49 percent favorable, and 4 percent no opinion.
The most recent Fox News poll, conducted March 29th-March 31st, shows Cruz in a five-way statistical tie for first, with Walker (15 percent), Bush (12 percent), retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (11 percent), Cruz (10 percent), and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) (10 percent) all within the 5.5 percent margin of error. The poll was conducted of a random national sample of 379 Republican primary voters.
Wilson’s memo also highlighted positive trends for Cruz in New Hampshire. A Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll, which questioned 358 New Hampshire Republican primary voters from April 9th-April 13th, showed Cruz in second place at 14 percent, following Walker’s 23 percent. This was an improvement over a Suffolk University poll conducted in New Hampshire in March, where Cruz received only two percent. The margin of error of the PPP poll was +/- 5.2 percent.
The rest of the results of the April PPP poll were 12 percent for Paul, 10 percent for Bush, 8 percent for both Rubio and Christie, 7 percent for both Huckabee and Carson, and 4 percent for former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX).
Cruz was the third most liked Republican in the PPP poll, with 50 percent having a favorable opinion, 26 percent unfavorable, and 25 percent not sure.
Walker was the most popular (57 percent favorable, 13 percent unfavorable, 30 percent not sure), followed by Paul (54 percent favorable, 25 percent unfavorable, 21 percent not sure), Cruz in third, then Rubio (49 percent favorable, 22 percent unfavorable, 29 percent not sure), Huckabee (48 percent favorable, 32 percent unfavorable, 20 percent not sure), Carson (45 percent favorable, 14 percent unfavorable, 41 percent not sure), Perry (41 percent favorable, 31 percent unfavorable, 28 percent not sure), Bush (41 percent favorable, 40 percent unfavorable, 19 percent not sure).
Christie was in last place and the only one among the current or potential Republican candidates with a negative rating: 34 percent favorable, 49 percent unfavorable, 17 percent not sure.
Wilson’s memo also mentioned a Winthrop University poll conducted with 956 Republican primary voters in South Carolina from April 4th-April 12th. The margin of error was +/- 3.2 percent. In this poll, Cruz was third at 8.1 percent, following Bush (12.7 percent) and Walker (13.6 percent).
Cruz also had a strong showing with two critical parts of the South Carolina Republican electorate: tea party voters and evangelical Christians. Cruz was the clear favorite with South Carolina tea partiers; 62 percent said they would consider voting for him. Among evangelicals, Cruz trailed only Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, with 51 percent saying they would consider voting for him.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) placed fourth in the Winthrop University poll at 7.6 percent, one of the few polls where he is a contender, but even in his home state he has a steeply uphill battle. A majority of South Carolina Republicans (54.9 percent) said they would not consider voting for him.
Also noteworthy in this South Carolina poll is that it shows that the race is still very wide open. Approximately one-fourth of voters are undecided, and a large number of candidates split the remaining votes. Paul was fifth, at 6.2 percent, followed by Christie (5 percent), Huckabee (4.9 percent), Carson (4.9 percent), Rubio (4 percent), Perry (1.9 percent), New York real estate magnate Donald Trump (1.9 percent), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) (0.9 percent), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) (0.3 percent), and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (0.2 percent).
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