Will We Look a 'Never Cruz' Movement as Cruz Negatives Surge Past Trump?

Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 7:12 AM

Among the poll sampling of 1.043 likely voters that mirrored the turnout profile from the two thousand twelve common election, the NY billionaire and reality TV star was viewed unfavorably by more than sixty % of the electorate.

The Emerson College poll released this week confirmed once again why the Republican Party is so anxious to topple the Donald Trump bandwagon. Among the poll sampling of one.043 likely voters that mirrored the turnout profile from the two thousand twelve common election, the NY billionaire and reality TV star was viewed unfavorably by more than sixty % of the electorate. Matched against his favorable rating of 34.5 percent, the Emerson College poll suggested that Trump has a "fav-unfav" rating of negative 26.one.

The fav-unfav rating, love the right track-wrong track rating, has long been a key metric in political polling. A high net favorable rating is a powerful indicator of electoral performance, a high net negative bodes the opposite. Opposition research is critical in politics for the ordinary reason that it's frequently easier to expand the negative perception of your opponent than to expand the positive perception of yourself.

Over the past month, the Never Trump movement has catalyzed around Ted Cruz as its knight in shining armor to get down the Donald, or at minimum to hold him from winning a first ballot nomination in Cleveland. The motivations behind the Never Trump movement are myriad; its coalition partners start with establishment Republicans and major donors and extends in any and all directions from there. There are those who simply believe that if nominated, Trump will be pummeled in the fall by Hillary. There are those who dread the down ballot impact, the prospect of losing the Senate, and -- God forbid -- the House. There are the movement conservatives who decry the fact that Trump isn't a conservative in excellent standing, or maybe not even a Republican at all. There are the neoconservatives who fear Trump'south appeal to isolationism and obvious willingness to Relinquish regional hegemony to Russia and China. And then there are those who simply believe that, on his own merits, Donald Trump is an odious candidate.

With Trump'south loss to Cruz in Wisconsin, the Never Trump movement had arrive near to accomplishing its purposes. In the intervening days, it's become the new conventional wisdom that even with powerful performances in NY and states across the northeast over the following several weeks, Donald Trump cannot attain a first ballot triumph in Cleveland, and that if he fails to win on the first ballot, he's number prospect of winning the Republican nomination.

Just as it's on the cusp of achieving its goal, participants in the Never Trump movement are about to arrive face-to-face with its unintended consequences. And thus will be born the Never Cruz movement. Even as the GOP establishment moved against Trump, the fear of an empowered Ted Cruz must've loomed in the darkest reaches of their fevered imaginations. Never Trump was a practical imperative, but Never Cruz remains the deeper, distant more personal passion. Senate Majority Boss Mitch McConnell, for example prefers not to have Trump on the ticket -- he wants to keep onto his job, after all, and losing the Senate would cost him dearly. But President Ted Cruz? Dante Alighieri could've imagined number greater torment for McConnell and his caucus.

The irony buried in the cross tabs of the Emerson College poll is that in Ted Cruz, the GOP may have turned to a candidate that may yet create Donald Trump see love the safer choice. While the Emerson College poll suggests that Trump is viewed unfavorably by sixty.6 % of the likely voters, Cruz is viewed unfavorably by 70.3 percent. Where Trump is viewed favorably by 34.5 % of the likely voters, Cruz is viewed favorably by only 22.3 percent. Trump'south fav-unfav rating of negative 26.one looks positively sunny compared to Ted Cruz'south rating of negative 48.0.

According to RealClear Politics, which tracks these things over time, Donald Trump'south average favorable/unfavorable rating is -thirty-five.1, or somewhat worse than the Emerson College rating. If you see back over the nine mo arc of the primary season, Trump'south rating has been consistently negative. When he first announced his candidacy, he came out of the gate at a negative forty-nine, and since then hast tended to hover in the range of -fifteen to -35.

Not so with Ted Cruz. He started out the gate in slightly positive territory, and over the ensuing months hovered in slightly negative terrain, -5 to -fifteen, for most of the campaign. This seemed to be a remarkably positive rating for a man who was uniquely reviled among his peers in the U. south Senate. As one Republican commentator suggested when asked about Cruz'south relatively sanguine net unfavorability rating, give it time, voters just haven't gotten to know him yet. Indeed, over the past mo or so, as Cruz has moved to middle stage, his net negative rating has steadily declined into the -25 to -35 range. At -48, the Emerson College rating could be an outlier, or it could be a signal of worse things to arrive for the Texas senator.

Even as they've endured the turmoil of their own nomination fight, Republicans have been salivating at the prospect of running against Hillary Clinton in the fall. Clinton is widely viewed as a feeble common election candidate, for reasons that have become evident in Bernie Sanders' successful challenge. She'south problems with believe and honesty--two factors reflected in the fav/unfav metric--and, love Cruz, her standing in the public eye has deteriorated over the course of the campaign. A year ago, Clinton'south fav/unfav ratings were consistently strong, in the range of positive 15 to positive 35. Then, in the face of continued attacks from the GOP over her email and Benghazi, and not doubt in large measure due to Sanders' (+5.3 fav/unfav, btw) unrelenting assault on her character, her fav/unfav rating as gone south, and presently has settled into solidly negative terrain, in the range of -10 to -15.

But, notwithstanding Hillary's problems, the success of Never Trump and the rise of Cruz show up to have distinctly benefited Democrat prospects in the fall, if prediction betting sites are to be believed. For months, predication sites held steady at giving the Democrats a 60-65 % chance of winning in the fall. With the advent of Never Trump and the rise of Ted Cruz, even as Hillary'south negative rating settled into negative territory, the odds turned steadily stronger in Democrats favor. Since the beginning of March, the odds of a Democrat triumph in the fall have increased steadily to nearly 75percent. It should be tiny consolation to Democrats, however, that they show up to have the upper hand while their candidate is viewed increasingly unfavorably across the voting public.

Over the past several months, the focus of the GOP establishment has been on stopping Donald Trump. Those efforts bolstered Ted Cruz'south prospects of winning the nomination, and since the beginning of March, the likelihood of Cruz winning the nomination, as measured by online prediction sites, rose from 15 % to over forty percent. But as the stop Trump phase of the primary campaign comes to an end, a new legend line will likely emerge. It's been barely a mo since the Never Trump forces coalesced, and yet very soon many of those who joined the fray below the banner of Ted Cruz to stop Donald Trump will turn against their white knight. This is the fairy tail scenario that John Kasich -- with his +10.eighth fav/unfav rating -- believes will carry him to the nomination. A Kasich triumph in Cleveland seems unlikely, but so does the prospect of anyone but Trump or Cruz winning the nomination, lest total havoc ensue.

Over the past week or so, the prospects of Ted Cruz winning the nomination, as measured by online prediction sites, soured a bit, falling to thirty-one percent. Donald Trump, meanwhile, got some of his mojo back. After falling to below fifty % in the wake of his WI defeat, the likelihood of a Trump nomination as suggested by prediction sites is back up to 60 percent. For his part, Kasich is at 8 percent, while Paul Ryan, who tried best this week at a Shermanesque disavowal of his interest in the nomination, is at eighty-third to 1, or barely 1 percent. Marco Rubio is hanging in there at less than 1 percent, or 166-1 odds. Mitt Romney, for those who care, is at 250-1.

While Donald Trump'south high negatives have been a continuing topic of conversation over the course of this election season, fav/unfav ratings haven't been discussed as a determinative factor as much as they were earlier on in the campaign. Maybe that's because the focus on Trump and his remarkably high negatives distracted attention from the strongly negative fav/unfav ratings garnered by other candidates. But as the spotlight has swung to Ted Cruz, his net negative fav/unfav rating has crept up into Trumpian territory.

In contrast with her prospective GOP rivals, Hillary Clinton'south negative fav/unfav rating, as horrible as it is, just doesn't yet seem to be as much of a factor. It's an odd way to view a campaign, but as the online prediction sites seem to suggest, Hillary'south prospects of winning in the fall can stay high even as her fav/unfav rating remains negative, as long as the candidates that she's prospectively running against are viewed more negatively by the voting public than she is.

Artwork by Jay Duret. Discover him at jayduret. com.

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