Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) piloted a hard line against Obamacare funding, but has he steered a dangerous course? According to a Gallup survey released on Thursday, 26% have a favorable opinion of Cruz, while 36% have a negative opinion of the freshman senator. In a June survey, 24% had a favorable opinion of Cruz while 18% had a negative opinion. This 16-point negative poll may be nothing more than choppy seas, or it may indicate that he has misjudged the repercussions of the government shutdown and has created a tidal wave that could jeopardize his presidential aspirations in 2016. An October 9 Associated Press-GfK survey found that 68% consider the government shutdown a major problem for the country, and that 62% believe that the GOP was primarily to blame.
Cruz's falling national approval is not his only problem. In March, a University of Texas/Texas Tribune survey found that only 39% of Texans viewed Senator Cruz favorably while 28 % viewed him unfavorably and 33 percent either viewed him neither favorably nor unfavorably or had no opinion.
Senator Cruz claims that his party is not angry with him for his part in the government shutdown. This may be inaccurate. On October 2, several Senate Republicans — including Dan Coats of Indiana, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — chided Cruz's efforts to block Obamacare funding and accused him of not having a plan of how the GOP could prevail in the shutdown battle. Even worse, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed his displeasure with Cruz.
While the 2016 election is over three years away, with a GOP crop of presidential hopefuls that potentially includes Senator Rand Paul, Senator Marco Rubio, and former Governor Jeb Bush, such unpopular crusades could sink Cruz's chances.