A new poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) finds Ted Cruz as the Republican front-runner for 2016, with the Tea Party darling registering 20 percent support, putting him ahead of Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and Jeb Bush.
PPP also finds Cruz is considered the de facto leader of his party, with a large majority of respondents saying they trust him more than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Since PPP's last national 2016 poll in July, Cruz's standing has increased by 8 percent, while his competitors have on the whole stayed in place. Not coincidentally, the poll also finds that both "very conservative" as well as "moderate" Republicans support a government shutdown to kill Obamacare, a strategy that Cruz has spearheaded to the consternation of both Democrats and establishment Republicans.
Cruz is leading the GOP field based especially on his appeal to 'very conservative' primary voters, who he gets 34% with to 17% for Rand Paul and 12% for Paul Ryan. Voters who fall into that ideological group make up the largest portion of the Republican electorate at 39%. With moderates Cruz gets only 4% with Christie leading at 34% to 12% for Jeb Bush and 10% for Marco Rubio, but they only account for 18% of GOP voters and thus aren't all that relevant to Cruz's prospects for winning a Republican nomination.