It seems like it wouldn’t be possible, but Donald Trump is somehow Having a Bad Week. After a series of rough news cycles dominated by, among other things, his campaign manager being brought up on misdemeanor battery charges, he’s staring at historic levels of unpopularity for a presidential candidate.
Trump’s standing with Republican primary voters remains steady.
People Hate Ted Cruz as Much as They Hated Mitt Romney in 2012 and We all Know How that Turned Out! A Vote for Cruz is a Vote for Hillary!
Ted Cruz’s chances of capturing the nomination is not any stronger. Cruz won’t be able to capture the required number of delegates before the convention to win the nomination outright, but he can stop Trump from getting there too. And then it’s BROKERED CONVENTION TIME! Party leaders would obviously be hesitant to jigger the convention to block Trump – the likely vote- and delegate-leader – from capturing the nomination, but if goes into the convention GOP bigwigs might conclude that political self-preservation requires gaming the outcome in defiance of the will of the voters. In that scenario Cruz would have a strong hand, given that the convention is run by party insiders and he is (ironically) the Republican establishment’s preferred alternative to Trump.
So let’s say the nomination is snatched away from Trump at the convention and thrown to Cruz. Crisis averted, right? Well… no, not really. Cruz is a weaker general election candidate than Trump, and Ted has his own glaring weaknesses that would make a November victory an arduous slog for the Republican Party.
While everyone is focusing on Trump’s popularity, no one has really noticed that Cruz’s numbers are plummeting. The same Washington Post poll that gave Trump crazily high negatives also found that Cruz is deeply underwater. His favorable rating is just 35 percent, while his unfavorable rating is 51 percent.
Back in January, his favorable/unfavorable was roughly even at 42/43. A new poll from Gallup confirmed the Post poll’s findings: in December of last year, Cruz’s favorable/unfavorable split was about even, but it’s cratered to -16 since then. “Cruz’s image has suffered as much as Trump’s,” Gallup’s analysis notes.