If your mind keeps going to the supremely disorienting thought that a whole lot of Iowans like Ted Cruz enough to go to a school gym right after supper before a snowstorm to vote for him, I feel your pain. Like most Texas Democrats, I woke up this morning to an all too familiar feeling: the feeling we get when we know Ted Cruz is pumped. It’s a little bit like a hangover. My head hurts. I feel nauseous. I’m questioning the nature of existence, whether the universe is a meaningless black hole hurtling towards nothingness.
America, we’ve got to buck up! We can’t let Ted Cruz and his creepy insistence that he’s the new Ronald Reagan get us down!
Want to hear something amazing? Ted Cruz is not all that popular in Texas!
The Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin is the leading political polling organization in Texas. In November 2015, they published their most recent poll, in conjunction with the Texas Tribune. The November 2015 poll includes a section on Ted Cruz’s favorability in Texas. Here’s the table of the overall results of the question, “Please tell us whether you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, neither favorable nor unfavorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of Ted Cruz”
The first stat that jumps out is the fact that Very Unfavorable comes in as the largest group at 29%. I bet you weren’t expecting that! Granted, Very Favorable comes in second at 25%, but as far as I’m concerned, second is a set of steak knives. More Texans have a very unfavorable opinion of Ted Cruz than a very favorable one. I’d like to submit that as Exhibit One in my case “You Cannot Blame the Entire State of Texas for Ted Cruz,” your honor.
To be fair, when you combine Very Favorables and Favorables, 41% of Texans have a generally favorable opinion of Ted Cruz. But hang on there before you start tweeting “Texas <3 Ted. ” 38% of Texans surveyed have a Very Unfavorable or Unfavorable view of Ted. That’s almost as many Texans who have an favorable opinion of our junior senator and nearly within the statistical margin. That’s incredible, even to someone like me who’s a professional Cruz Very Unfavorablista.
What really give me hope is how the November 2015 results compare with Cruz’s 2012 favorability ratings. Here are the overall results of the Texas Politics Project’s October 2012 poll on Ted Cruz’s favorability:
Do you see what I see? The biggest change is in the Very Unfavorable column, going from 16% in 2012 to 29% in 2015, a change of 13%. Yes, there is some good news for Ted. Between 2012 and 2015, his general favorability rose from 37% to 41%, but that 4% increase is not much compared to the change in the Very Unfavorable column.
It’s very simple: since his election, Ted Cruz has become less popular in Texas, not more popular. In 2012, the largest response was 23% for “Don’t Know Enough About Him to Have an Opinion.” Not surprisingly, after three years in office, that number has decreased. In 2015, only 8% of the respondents indicated that they didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion. So, according to the Texas Politics Project, it’s not like Texans haven’t been paying attention. They have. 15% of them paid enough attention to actually form an opinion. And the big growth came in the Very Unfavorable column.
In other words, the more Texans get to know Ted Cruz, the less they like him. In 2012, only 26% of us had an Unfavorable/Very Unfavorable opinion of him. By November 2015, that percentage had grown to 39%. To paraphrase one of Ted’s rivals, that’s YUGE.