GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz is getting a big polling bump after his announcement that he will seek his party's nomination, Public Policy Polling reports.
Support for the first-term Texas senator,
who opened his national campaign office in Houston on Tuesday, rose from 5 percent to 16 percent, PPP said, pushing Cruz into the top-tier of Republicans who will likely make a primary run.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is leading the pack, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and then Cruz, whose popularity with conservatives in his party is growing, PPP said of its latest survey of likely GOP primary contenders.
Bush and Walker narrowly lead polling in New Hampshire, one of the early primary states, according to a Suffolk University poll reported last week by The Wall Street Journal.
Others in the PPP survey include Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who ties retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with 10 percent, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 6 percent apiece. Rounding out the bottom are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 4 percent and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 3 percent.
PPP said of Cruz's gains in a release Wednesday: "Cruz has really caught fire with voters identifying themselves as 'very conservative' since his announcement. After polling at only 11 percent with them a month ago, he now leads the GOP field with 33 percent to 25 percent for Walker and 12 percent for Carson with no one else in double digits."
The North Carolina-based pollsters added: "Last month Walker led with that group and almost all of the decline in his overall support over the last month has come within it as those folks have moved toward Cruz. Cruz's name recognition with Republican voters has increased from 61 percent to 82 percent since his announcement. Besides Cruz the other candidate with momentum over the last month is Rand Paul. His support has increased from 4 percent to 10 percent."
The latest poll found two candidates losing some ground — Huckabee and Carson. Bush has stayed relatively stable along with Christie, but PPP noted concerns with shifts in their favorably ratings.
"Christie now finds himself with only 24 percent of GOP primary voters viewing him positively to 57 percent who have a negative opinion," the pollsters wrote. "Every month it seems he just becomes more and more unpopular."
Bush straddles the fence with 39 percent of voters viewing him favorably while 37 percent see him as unfavorable.
"Bush's struggles are coming with the furthest right segment of the Republican primary electorate —
only 27 percent of 'very conservative' GOP voters have a favorable opinion of him to 55 percent with a negative one. And just 4 percent of voters within that group say they support him for the nomination," said the pollsters.
"Bush has a lot of work to do with conservatives if he's going to be successful next winter and spring."
The bright spot in the poll goes to Rubio, who earned the highest favorability rating in the pack at 55 percent.
"He's not that many people's first choice right now, but having so many voters with a positive opinion of him leaves him well positioned to benefit if/when other contenders stumble in the months ahead," PPP said.
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