Cruz and Lee both suffer in the polls

October 10, 2013
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) left, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) during a news conference with conservative Congressional Republicans at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. Cruz and Lee stand as the Senate’s dynamic duo for conservatives, crusading against President Barack Obama’s health care law while infuriating many congressional Republicans with a tactic they consider futile, self-serving and detrimental to the party’s political hopes in 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) left, and Mike Lee (R-Utah) at the Capitol on Sept. 19. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The two highest-profile leaders of the GOP’s Defund Obamacare effort have taken a significant hit in the polls.

A new Gallup poll shows Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is viewed favorably by 26 percent of Americans, versus 36 percent who view him unfavorably.

In June, a less-well-known Cruz was still in positive territory, with a 24 percent favorable rating and an 18 percent unfavorable rating. In other words, his unfavorable rating has doubled, while his favorable rating has risen just two points.

Cruz’s top partner in the Defund Obamacare effort, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), has seen a similar drop — in his home state, at least. A new Brigham Young University poll shows Lee with a 40-51 favorable/unfavorable split, vs. a 50-41 split in June.

Congress as a whole has taken a hit during the shutdown, so it’s not terribly surprising that an individual politician would lose some ground.

But Cruz and Lee have been the most public faces of the Defund Obamacare movement — which polls show most Americans oppose and the vast majority hoped wouldn't risk a government shutdown to get what they wanted. And the polls show Cruz and Lee have seen bigger increases in their unfavorable ratings than other congressional leaders have.

Update 9:03 p.m.: A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll confirms that Cruz is struggling. It shows twice as many eople have negative views of him (28 percent) as positive views (14 percent).

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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