Cruz was simply unlikeable. For many power-brokers in the party the choice between Trump and Cruz was, as Graham had previously put it, like “being shot or poisoned.” Graham may have made his choice, but the underlying point remained: support for Cruz remained tepid.
“People had a hard time liking him. This was fed by the narrative that nobody in the Senate liked him, the narrative that he didn’t get along with his colleagues,” said Bob Heckman, a Republican strategist who has worked on eight presidential campaigns and was an adviser to Graham’s own bid for the White House. “I don’t think Cruz was the most effective messenger against Cruz. He just happened to be the last man standing… part of it was that Cruz wasn’t an attractive candidate.”
The point was driven home by exit polls in Indiana, which showed a deeply divided party, one that objected to Cruz being the nominee nearly as much as it objected to Trump being the nominee: about four in 10 of Republican non-Cruz voters in the state told pollsters they wouldn’t vote for Cruz if he became the eventual nominee, according to ABC News…
“He cannot reach out to the mainstream… business Republicans. He didn’t deliver them, because he’s not part of that wing of the party,” said Michael Wolf, a professor of political science at Indiana University who helped conduct the poll. “His biggest sources of support are that he’s conservative and that he’s not Donald Trump.”