A new YouGov survey prepared for the CBS News 2016 Battleground Tracker in Texas shows U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (45%) and Donald Trump (30%) far ahead of other rivals. Marco Rubio (8%), Ben Carson (5%) and Jeb Bush (4%) were the only other candidates polling better than 2%. The poll of 984 likely Republican voters was in the field January 18-21. Its stated margin of error is ±4.4%.
The poll’s methodology was not indicated in the press release. Past YouGov polls relied on an opt-in, online survey of people the firm has specifically recruited to take its surveys. The sample used to conduct this poll is taken from its “active panelists” in Texas, so respondents were not randomly chosen from the voting age population. This tends to over-represent certain groups in the voting-age population, particularly older voters, whites and men. In this particular poll, voters over age 45 represented 71% of the sample, and white voters represented 87%.
The poll does not have traditional favorability ratings. Instead, it asks respondents whether they would consider or “never consider” voting for each candidate. Among the top five, Cruz had the highest such “rating”:
- 73% “could consider” voting for Cruz, while 27% “could never consider” voting for him
- 59% could vote for Rubio, 41% could never
- 58% could vote for Carson, 42% could never
- 56% could vote for Trump, 44% could never
- 28% could vote for Bush, 72% could never
Cruz also appears to be a “Goldilocks” candidate for 77% of respondents, who judged he was “about right” in his approach. Both Rubio (47%) and Trump (46%) were viewed as “about right” by less than half of respondents. Rubio was viewed as “too moderate” by 49% of respondents (Cruz: 77%). Trump was viewed as “too extreme” by 44% of respondents (Cruz: 14%).
The “Tea Party movement” was supported by 55% with another 38% viewing it neutrally. Almost two-thirds of respondents said they describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians. Cruz leads Trump among Tea Party supporters, 58%-29%. Trump leads among those neutral toward and opposed to the Tea Party, 31%-28%. Cruz leads Trump among evangelicals, 46%-30%. His lead (42%-30%) is smaller among non-evangelicals.
Cruz has a wide lead among “very conservative” voters (57%-30%), but Trump leads among moderates, 37%-15%. Rubio ties Cruz for second among moderates, but only 5% of “very conservative” respondents support him.
The poll release and limited crosstabs are available online here.