Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Ted Cruz's Scary Supporters

Listening to some pundits on satellite radio, some think the GOP presidential nomination contest will ultimately come down to "mainstream candidates" Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.  In what universe Ted Cruz is "mainstream" the pundits don't say.  Cruz is a demagogue and a very scary one at that.  He most certainly is no friend to LGBT Americans (he has tried to claim that the Colorado Springs shooter is transgender) or women, minorities, or non-religious extremists.  The good news is that some believe that his current rise in the polls is limited because of the nature of those in the GOP he attracts: "very conservative" Republicans which translates to members of the Christian Taliban and white supremacists, although I remain baffled as to why the latter support Cruz who is Hispanic.  A piece in the New York Times looks at the nature of Cruz's supporters and why, if we are lucky, his appeal will not translate outside of Iowa.  Here are excerpts:

Polls say Ted Cruz is gaining in Iowa, where two new ones show him reaching second place with around 20 percent of the vote. But the same polls suggest he has a big challenge: He has very little support outside of a growing base of self-described “very conservative” voters.

“Very conservative” voters can propel Mr. Cruz to victory in Iowa, a caucus state, but according to exit poll data from 2008 and 2012, those types of voters represent a smaller share of the electorate in every primary state. To win, he will need to broaden his appeal, count on a divided field or hope to face a candidate with even more limited appeal.
In the most recent Quinnipiac survey of Iowa, he had a large 16-point lead among voters who described themselves as “very conservative.” With 38 percent of their support, his strength there was greater than that of any other candidate in any ideological category. But he held the support of just 14 percent of “somewhat conservative” voters and a mere 6 percent of self-described moderate or liberal Republicans. The most recent national Quinnipiac survey showed the same basic breakdown in support for him.
Iowa is as good as it gets for a candidate like Mr. Cruz — “very conservative” voters represent 47 percent of the G.O.P. electorate there, according to exit polls in 2012. Self-described moderate and liberal voters represented just 17 percent of that electorate.

The electorate is so conservative because the delegate selection process begins with caucuses, which draw the most engaged, activist and conservative voters. In primary states, the electorate is very different. Across the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, moderate voters actually outnumber “very conservative” voters, 39 percent to 32 percent. There is not a single primary state where “very conservative” voters represent as  large a share of the electorate as they do in Iowa, according to exit and entrance polls. 

This is not to say that Mr. Cruz can’t win with something resembling his current coalition. But it does frame what would be a long and narrow path to the nomination.

To win, Mr. Cruz would have a few options. He could do so well among “very conservative” voters that he could swamp his challengers, especially if multiple candidates with more appeal among self-described moderate voters split the rest of the field.

The Cruz campaign seems cognizant of its narrow base; it has deftly focused on building a broader coalition from the very start, when he announced his candidacy at Liberty University, a Christian university in Virginia. The decision was made on the assumption that his victory depended on uniting his Tea Party base with the religious right — two large factions that, together, would represent something near a majority of the Republican electorate but that often split in Republican primaries.  

But so far, none of these efforts have shown up in the polls for Mr. Cruz. He has made gains mainly insofar as he has maximized his support among his most natural voters. His support among evangelicals appears to be partly a matter of overlap; evangelicals tend to be relatively conservative.

Ultimately, candidates who start with lopsided, factional appeal usually struggle to broaden their base, even when they’re viewed favorably throughout a party, like Bernie Sanders. But Mr. Cruz isn’t facing anyone like Hillary Rodham Clinton; indeed, the establishment-backed candidates are as weak as they have ever been at this stage. A strong factional candidate could win in a year like this.
Let's hope that Cruz finds it impossible to expand his scary base and ultimately fizzles out.

1 comment:

EdA said...

I wonder how the owners of New York's OUT bar and hotel and the Pines on Fire Island, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass, feel knowing that their good friend and beneficiary of their house parties Ted Cruz is also happy to hang out with a religious nutcase who wants to impose the death penalty on them and on about 13 million other LGBT Americans.