Megyn Kelly opened her interview with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on the first episode of her new Fox News show The Kelly File by asking: “What’s it like to be the most hated man in America?”
The good news for Republicans is that Cruz probably isn’t the “most hated man” in the country, and that’s only because most of the country has no idea who he is.
In a new Associated Press-GfK survey, only half the country knew the junior senator well enough to have an opinion. Of those who did, 16 percent viewed him favorably and double that, 32 percent, had an unfavorable view. Poll averages show most Americans have no opinion of Cruz, while those who do mostly view him unfavorably. His favorable rating has dropped sharply since his 21-hour fake filibuster.
In Virginia, the state with one competitive gubernatorial race in 2013 and a state highly affected by the government shutdown, 46 percent of voters had an unfavorable view of Cruz. Even in a state that borders on Washington D.C., 29 percent didn’t have an opinion about the senator, while only 26 percent had a favorable view. The Republican nominee for governor, Ken Cuccinelli, appeared over the weekend with Cruz. But the candidate has been forced to come out against the shutdown as his poll numbers get worse and worse.
Yes, Ted Cruz is already costing Republicans in a competitive race.
Still, the Tea Party hero is doing his best to make sure America knows who he is with his summer-long “Defund Obamacare” campaign. Before that he was best known for insinuating that then-nominee for Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel may have ties to Iran or North Korea.
He was lesser known for the instrumental role he played in joining a handful of Republican senators in halting a conference committee that would have turned Congress back to the “regular order” GOP leaders claimed they wanted. And the fact that Cruz could possibly end the career of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-VA) by endorsing the leader’s Tea Party primary opponent has helped paralyze the Senate and McConnell, who was a key broker in the deal that ended the “fiscal cliff” crisis.
Cruz was either chosen or chose himself to be the face of a well-funded movement that has been plotting for months to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act. Of course, that’s not how they would frame what they were doing. They blame the president for not being willing to give up his signature legislative achievement that he campaigned on as he was re-elected.