Whom do Republicans see as their party’s leader?
While I would argue that there’s no clear-cut answer to the question in the headline above, the results of a new survey give political junkies of all stripes a lot to chew on.
The numbers generally are good news for Democrats, as we see HERE:
PPP’s newest national survey finds that in the wake of the shutdown, Republican voters now view Ted Cruz as their party’s leader. 21% picked Cruz to 17% for Chris Christie, and 15% for John Boehner. Cruz finished well ahead of the other GOP Senators we tested- Rand Paul got 9%, John McCain 7%, and Mitch McConnell only 4%. Mitt Romney at 8% and Sarah Palin at 4% were the other people we tested.
Numbers PPP will release next week show Ted Cruz would be an exceedingly weak Presidential candidate in the general election. The good news for the GOP is that even if the party base sees Cruz as their leader Democrats and independents actually see Chris Christie, who has far broader approval, as the leader of the Republican Party these days. With Democrats Christie gets 23% to 17% for Boehner and only 10% for Cruz. And with independents Christie gets 25% to 17% for Cruz and 10% for Boehner. Even if Republicans themselves see Cruz as their leader, they’re better off with everyone else seeing it as Christie.
Democrats continue to lead Republicans on the generic Congressional ballot, 44/38. They have a slight advantage with independents (33/29) and Democrats (83%) are also more committed to supporting their own party next year than Republicans (78%) are. These numbers are pretty similar to the 5 point generic leads we found for Democrats nationally in late September and early October.