Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gained national attention for his recent 21-hour talkathon to protest funding for the Affordable Care Act, but a poll released Wednesday showed that he remains a largely unknown figure — even among Republicans.
According to the latest findings from Quinnipiac University, 16 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the freshman senator while a quarter said they have an unfavorable opinion. But most Americans, 58 percent, said they haven't heard enough about Cruz.
And while Republicans have a higher opinion of Cruz — 38 percent said they view him favorably compared with nine percent who said they view him unfavorably — he still battles low name recognition among his party peers. Fifty-three percent of Republicans said they haven't heard enough about him.
The poll showed that potential 2016 contenders New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) are both better-known than Cruz, who just joined the Senate in January. Thirty-six percent of all Americans said they haven't heard enough about Christie, while 37 percent said the same of Paul.
With 17 percent support among GOP voters, Paul led a crowded hypothetical 2016 primary field that was tested by Quinnipiac. Christie finished second with 13 percent, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) trailed with 12 percent and 11 percent respectively. The poll showed Cruz tied with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) with 10 percent among Republicans nationwide.
A survey last week from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling found Republicans tapping Cruz as the party's top choice for 2016. Arguably the public face of the effort to defund the health care law, Cruz gained eight points among GOP voters since PPP's survey in July.