For some reason liberals still seem to believe that it's good for them that the Tea Partiers are crazy because then the sane Republicans will vote them out of office. I dunno:
PPP's newest national poll finds Ted Cruz is now the top choice of Republican primary voters to be their candidate for President in 2016. He leads the way with 20% to 17% for Rand Paul, 14% for Chris Christie, 11% for Jeb Bush, 10% each for Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, 4% for Bobby Jindal, and 3% each for Rick Santorum and Scott Walker.
Cruz has gained 8 points since our last national 2016 poll in July while everyone else has more or less stayed in place. He's made himself the face of a government shutdown over Obamacare, and the Republican base supports that by a 64/20 margin. It's not surprising that Republicans identifying as 'very conservative' support a shutdown 75/10, but even the moderate wing of the party supports it by a 46/36 margin.
Cruz is leading the GOP field based especially on his appeal to 'very conservative' primary voters, who he gets 34% with t0 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.
Our numbers also suggest that Cruz is now viewed more broadly as the leader of the Republican Party. When asked whether they trust Cruz or GOP leader Mitch McConnell more, Cruz wins out 49/13. When it comes to who's more trusted between Cruz and Speaker John Boehner, Cruz has a 51/20 advantage. And when it comes to Cruz and 2008 GOP nominee and Senate colleague John McCain, Cruz wins out 52/31. He now has more credibility with the GOP base than the folks who have been leading the party for years.
The problem isn't that the Tea party is crazy. It's that Republicans are crazy. Only 18% of them can be described a moderate.
I suppose the good news is that they are in a minority in the nation at large so they ae unlikely to succeed at national politics. But these people are in gerrymandered districts and very deep Red States where the crazy is concentrated. They'll continue to act crazy as long as the lunatic Republican base --- which is most of the party --- supports this crap.
And don't think for a minute that reality must bite one day and they'll be forced to admit their folly. If they shut down the government or refuse to raise the debt ceiling and all hell breaks loose, they will not wake up one morning, look in the mirror and say to themselves that they went too far. That will never happen. They'll just blame the hippies, the blacks, Obamacare or Big Gummint. They never, ever, ever blame themselves.