Republicans’ views of Cruz are now the worst in Gallup’s history of tracking the Texas senator. His image among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents is at 39% favorable and 45% unfavorable, based on April 24-30 interviewing, for a net favorable score of -6. The last few days have marked the first time we have seen Cruz’s image underwater since we began daily tracking in July.
Republicans consistently held much more positive than negative views of Cruz from last July through January of this year, but then their unfavorable ratings of him began to climb. After a holding period of sorts in March and early April, Cruz’s image began to deteriorate significantly in the last two weeks, with his positive and negative lines crossing in the middle of last week. His current -6 net favorable rating is a far cry from where it was in late December and early January when his net favorable was +48, some 54 points higher than today.
Cruz now joins the ranks of several other GOP presidential candidates whose images among Republicans fell into net negative territory. South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham and former New York Gov. George Pataki hold the records for the worst images during the 2016 campaign; both of them had net favorables in the -13 to -14 range last August. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore had a -11 in August as well. On the Democratic side, two former candidates also had net negative images — former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb with a low of -4 in early September, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee with a -2 at various points in August.
For the period from April 24-30, Trump had a 59% favorable and 35% unfavorable image among Republicans, for a +24 net favorable. That’s not Trump’s high point (he was at 63% favorable, 30% unfavorable in late August and early September), but his rating is up in recent days even as Cruz’s has gone down, putting more and more separation between them.
Ted Cruz — attempting to hold on to the narrowing possibility that he can wrest the GOP nomination away from front-runner Donald Trump — faces a crucial Indiana primary on Tuesday. Meanwhile, and perhaps ominously for Cruz, he has run into headwinds among Republicans at the national level. His image has essentially nosedived over the past week or two, while Trump’s image has become more positive.