Poll: Rand Paul’s support slipping among tea partiers?

posted at 12:01 pm on August 15, 2014 by Allahpundit

A nice catch by WaPo’s Aaron Blake. Obvious caveats: It’s just one poll and tea party subsamples are necessarily small and prone to large margins of error. But as we get closer to the primaries and Paul breaks with conservative orthodoxy in ever more interesting ways, his standing on the right will be closely watched. This is just one data point, but do note it.

And indeed, it seems actual tea partiers are apparently noticing that Paul isn’t exactly their cup of tea. The new McClatchy-Marist College poll of the 2016 GOP presidential primary shows Paul’s share of the tea party vote dropping from 20 percent in April to 7 percent today — tied for fifth. Cruz, meanwhile, leads this demographic with 15 percent.

Similarly, an NBC News/Marist College poll of the Iowa GOP caucuses last month showed Paul leading Cruz and tied for first overall. But while Cruz’s support was almost completely among tea partiers, Paul actually did no better among that segment than he did overall. He was tied with Rick Santorum among tea party supporters.

Both of these polls have small sample sizes and shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but it’s notable that Paul doesn’t appear as reliant on tea party support as the other big supposed tea party candidate, Cruz. That’s by design. Paul is reaching out to the minority groups and religious conservatives for a reason; he knows he’s not the tea party-est of the tea partiers and that he can’t/won’t rely on their votes to deliver the GOP nomination in 2016.

The raw number is less interesting than the trend. Paul could make up eight percent in a primary campaign in one especially good week. But he’s trending downward, at least as far as Marist can tell. How come? Cruz, obviously, is gobbling up some of his support. He’s an orthodox conservative, just as most tea partiers are; whatever else Rand may be, he’s not orthodox. The higher Cruz’s profile gets, the more Rand will suffer on the right unless/until Cruz declares he’s not running. It could also be, of course, that Paul’s piled up a few too many heresies lately irrespective of what Cruz has been up to. Righties might indulge him a few breaks with convention but lately it seems like his agenda is nothing but breaks — he’s pushing sentencing reforms, criticizing the police for military-style riot control, and walking the usual tightrope on foreign interventions. At some point, the idea sets in that he’s not “one of us” and suddenly he’s tied in a 2016 primary poll of tea partiers with Chris Christie and actually trailing Jeb Bush.

One related problem for Rand that tends to be overlooked, I think, is the attitudinal difference between him and Cruz. It’s not merely that Cruz is more in line with conservative orthodoxy; it’s that he has the right enemies. I mentioned that the other day when I posted that little game of word association Paul played with a reporter in Kentucky. When asked what word came to mind when Chris Christie is mentioned, he smirked and said “bridges.” When asked what word came to mind when Obama is mentioned, he didn’t say “IRS” or “executive overreach” or “ObamaCare” or “Benghazi” or “Fast & Furious” or any of the other 8,000 things that set tea partiers off about The One. He said “affable but ineffectual.” And I understand why he said it — he’s not going to throw a roundhouse at the first black president in the middle of courting black voters — but it’s impossible to imagine Cruz responding the same way. He would have laid Obama out because he knows that’s what his base wants and he’s superb at delivering it. Nor is it just Obama whom Rand’s gone a bit soft on. He endorsed Mitch McConnell and defended Thad Cochran’s tactics of wooing Democratic voters to win a Republican primary. One thing tea partiers cherish about Cruz is that establishmentarians hate him and Cruz seems to relish it. Rand doesn’t; on the contrary, he’s gone out of his way to make nice with them. There’s obviously strategy there too given his fears of being marginalized in the primary as a kook and outspent by an establishment opponent, but don’t be surprised if some tea partiers react badly to it.

And yet, and yet, if Cruz decides not to run and to endorse Paul instead, he’d almost certainly be the tea-party consensus choice and a legit contender for the nomination, no? He may not be their favorite anymore but he’s not anathema.


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Dang, those worms!

Schadenfreude on August 15, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Rand Paul has gone full-blown liberal – He has really snapped – Better now than later.

Pork-Chop on August 15, 2014 at 12:05 PM

he’s pushing sentencing reforms, criticizing the police for military-style riot control, and walking the usual tightrope on foreign interventions.

You forgot amnesty, that’s what really started his slide.

whatcat on August 15, 2014 at 12:06 PM

AP, well written post. Do you have spare time to help your cohorts?

faraway on August 15, 2014 at 12:07 PM

I think he has gone “full-Rubio.”

chuckfinlay on August 15, 2014 at 12:12 PM

And yet, and yet, if Cruz decides not to run and to endorse Paul instead, he’d almost certainly be the tea-party consensus choice and a legit contender for the nomination, no?

No.

Paul has some wonderful things to say about smaller government, fiscal responsibility, upholding the Constitution, etc. Then the same crazy that his daddy kicks in and he starts talking about the need to become a nation of isolationists whose military never ventures overseas or engages in the global community.

Happy Nomad on August 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM

And yet, and yet, if Cruz decides not to run and to endorse Paul instead, he’d almost certainly be the tea-party consensus choice and a legit contender for the nomination, no? He may not be their favorite anymore but he’s not anathema.

AP, you’re smarter than your cat gives you credit for…

JohnGalt23 on August 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM

I think he has gone “full-Rubio.”

chuckfinlay on August 15, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Even as Rubio is trying to walk back his positions.

Happy Nomad on August 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM

criticizing the police for military-style riot control

I think there is a real issue with the changes in policing over the last decade or so.

I don’t want to see the local or state police having access to military style weapons and equipment either.

If you need those kind of weapons, call out the national guard. Make the governor have to own the decision to respond in that way or not.

Letting unionized police show up in body armor and tanks is a recipe for disaster.

18-1 on August 15, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Paul has some wonderful things to say about smaller government, fiscal responsibility, upholding the Constitution, etc. Then the same crazy that his daddy kicks in and he starts talking about the need to become a nation of isolationists whose military never ventures overseas or engages in the global community.

Happy Nomad on August 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM

The Libertarian Party. The party that is and will always be the party of the future.

The daddy stuff rubbing off on him is what has kept me away from even considering him for any higher office.

Walter L. Newton on August 15, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Cruz gotta big bump in that poll from the previous Marist results. It’s also important to note that Perry has slipped a little bit after his “border bump”. I doubt both he and Cruz run. Alot of dominoes will be in effect here.

cdog0613 on August 15, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Poll: Rand Paul’s support slipping among tea partiers?

Playing the race card will do that…

Such a shame. I supported him until yesterday with his allusions that black people are in prison because racism.

DethMetalCookieMonst on August 15, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I’d be suspicious of a McClatchy anything, but, yeah, the more Rand makes his positions clear, the more some are going to rub some the wrong way.

formwiz on August 15, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Rand Paul lost this conservative long ago. I won’t look back either.

Conservative4Ever on August 15, 2014 at 12:20 PM

You forgot amnesty, that’s what really started his slide.

The American people have made pretty damn clear they don’t want amnesty. The problem is we really only have one political party…and it very much wants amnesty.

Speaking of which, what do you call the form of government where government bureaucrats and apparatchiks decide on policy irrespective of what the citizenry wants again?

18-1 on August 15, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Fade.

Bmore on August 15, 2014 at 12:22 PM

The latest national poll (Marist) has Cruz ahead of Paul among all GOP primary voters. I think that’s the first time that’s happened.

Jon0815 on August 15, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Good!

Connie on August 15, 2014 at 12:24 PM

The Libertarian Party. The party that is and will always be the party of the future.

As much as the Republicans have mismanaged themselves since the mid 90s they have been lightyears ahead of the Libertarians.

The LP should have known when they changed their focus from reducing the size and scope of government to winning over potheads that they were dooming themselves.

But you can see the evolution from the 90s, and it is now a common occurrence to meet “libertarians” whose issues are:

Legalizing drugs (specifically the ones they use)
Stopping global warming by draconian government regulations
Imprisoning people opposed to gay marriage
Implementing “single payer” socialized health care

Good job LP – I hope you enjoy that pot while you get to kneel to the Leviathan that you are helping the Left to build…

18-1 on August 15, 2014 at 12:25 PM

That is because Rand Paul is trying to pander, tap dance and be everyone to every faction. Just be a straight shooter and a straight talker, and you have nothing to worry about. When you pander; it makes us wonder what you are hiding, and what you are going to actually DO when you get into office.

melle1228 on August 15, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Paul is trying to appeal to a wide swath of voters in his quest for the presidency. Tea Partiers don’t like that, because they insist on having their way 100% of the time, or they stay home and no longer participate in the process–but continue to complain.

Ted Cruz is a perfect match for the Tea Party: FIRE READY AIM!

Armyspouse on August 15, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Tea Partiers don’t like that, because they insist on having their way 100% of the time, or they stay home and no longer participate in the process–but continue to complain.

Ted Cruz is a perfect match for the Tea Party: FIRE READY AIM!

Armyspouse on August 15, 2014 at 12:28 PM

This from another army spouse of 21 years–GFY.

No we tea partiers don’t want to have our way.. We just want the damn GOP to follow their own DAMN PARTY’S PLATFORM.. You know: small government, fiscal responsibility, no amnesty, strong military. I don’t think that is too much to ask, but apparently that makes us “complainers.” I think the people who don’t complain are a bunch of who$es, but YMMV..

melle1228 on August 15, 2014 at 12:32 PM

I found his disappearing act when Steve King was confronted by those illegals a couple of weeks ago cowardly…

ujorge on August 15, 2014 at 12:35 PM

I’d be inclined to support Rand in most ways but don’t because of his amnesty support. It’s too bad he sold out.

FloatingRock on August 15, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Rand Paul’s foreign policy is as equally rudderless as Obama’s.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on August 15, 2014 at 12:43 PM

melle1228 on August 15, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Haha, well said! Cut. Jib. Newsletter.

ezspirit on August 15, 2014 at 12:52 PM

chuckfinlay on August 15, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Everybody knows you never go full-Rubio. Rand is done. I’d actually respect him some if he had his dad’s same kooky appeal and lack of concern for polite society, but he doesn’t; he’s luke-warm, and shall be vomitted out.

abobo on August 15, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Rand Paul will say or do anything for a vote.

He is the Republican Bill Clinton.

tetriskid on August 15, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Rand Paul will say or do anything for a vote.

He is the Republican Bill Clinton.

tetriskid on August 15, 2014 at 1:05 PM

And he is one step removed from Charlie Crist (changing parties).

nobar on August 15, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Rand Paul will say or do anything for a vote.

He is the Republican Bill Clinton.

tetriskid on August 15, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Bill Clinton won two presidential elections, in fairly impressive fashion. There are worse political models to follow…

JohnGalt23 on August 15, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Fade.

Bmore on August 15, 2014 at 12:22 PM

The number of comments are in line with your art.

Armyspouse on August 15, 2014 at 12:28 PM

…while you’re the one who’s whining, a lot.

Schadenfreude on August 15, 2014 at 1:16 PM

I’d be inclined to support Rand in most ways but don’t because of his amnesty support. It’s too bad he sold out.

FloatingRock on August 15, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Amnesty traitors are all out. Don’t tell Armyspouse, lest you be accused of being a traitor yourself.

Schadenfreude on August 15, 2014 at 1:18 PM

I think he has gone “full-Rubio.”

[chuckfinlay on August 15, 2014 at 12:12 PM]

I disagree. Full-Rubio is a constantly expanding disaster no on else can catch up with. The best I think Paul can do is be a year or two behind.

I’ve lost a lot of interest in Paul in ways Allahpundit has only touched on here, but he has covered the gist of them and its another good post on the problem with Rand Paul.

Dusty on August 15, 2014 at 1:21 PM

That’s it, Rand Paul is dead to me now.
/

slickwillie2001 on August 15, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Sometimes people display too much need to be Pres – they will do anything to win, pander to anyone, adjust their positions to be more PC. Tends to make them seem untrustworthy.

katiejane on August 15, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Alternate headline: “Tea partiers beginning to come to their senses”

Rand Paul has proven time and again that he’s a consummate politician: he’ll say anything to get elected. Add in his nutty-as-a-fruitcake pedigree, and he becomes a nightmare candidate — the nightmare being, “What if he wins?”

Say what you will about Cruz, but at least he’s cogent and consistent.

Splashman on August 15, 2014 at 2:25 PM

I don’t trust Rand Paul to represent conservativism….I don’t trust him to represent the best interests of the country.

How one thinks that fool in the WH is “affable” after the blatant lies, distortions, ad hominems, is beyond me. That’s like Walker saying he thinks Christie is “conservative enough” to be the Republican nominee.

I won’t support or vote for Christie, Bush, Rubio, Ryan…or Paul.

EastofEden on August 15, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Another Rand Paul bashing? Yawn.

Amjean on August 15, 2014 at 2:58 PM

And yet, and yet, if Cruz decides not to run and to endorse Paul instead, he’d almost certainly be the tea-party consensus choice and a legit contender for the nomination, no? He may not be their favorite anymore but he’s not anathema.

He will be the way he is going. He has locked onto the idea that he has to win black votes. In order to even try he has to put down conservatives.

I do not take marching orders from Cruz. He can support anyone he wants. It will reflect on him who he supports just like it reflects on me who I support. Support for Rand Paul would be tarnishing himself in my views.

astonerii on August 15, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Rand lost me when he said that we had to surrender on Voter ID.

RJL on August 15, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Rand lost me when he said that we had to surrender on Voter ID.

RJL on August 15, 2014 at 4:10 PM

That issue was always overblown by the left and right. Evidence shows little to no people were being disenfranchised by requiring ID at polls, and there hasn’t been a large scale voter fraud.

V-rod on August 16, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Another Rand Paul bashing? Yawn.

Amjean on August 15, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Yeah…we’ve totally run the well dry on Obama’s harm done to the USA.

LawfulGood on August 17, 2014 at 3:16 AM