With billionaire Donald Trump on the verge of thumping Sen. Ted Cruz tonight in the Indiana primary and possibly forcing him out of the race, pollsters are rushing to assess what impact – if any – former CEO Carly Fiorina had in signing on as Cruz’s unofficial running mate last week.
Trump’s clean sweep of five key primary races in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states last week took most of the starch out of the effort by Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to deny the real estate mogul enough delegates to claim the GOP presidential nomination on the first ballot of the national convention this summer.
In a desperate move to try to jumpstart that effort and pull off a victory in Indiana today, Cruz brought on board the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and unsuccessful presidential candidate to generate some excitement and political energy. But with Trump holding a commanding lead in Indiana and the presidential contest overall, Fiorina appears to have had almost a negligible impact on Cruz’s political fortunes.
According to a newly released Morning Consult poll, Fiorina did little to “move the needle” in Cruz’s favor.
The poll, conducted April 29 through May 2, found that about a quarter of Republicans were more inclined to vote for Cruz because of his choice of Fiorina, who briefly generated a buzz within a crowded 2016 GOP field before finally dropping out of the race in February.
But another quarter of Republicans said they were less likely to vote for Cruz with Fiorina on the ticket – making it a wash. The remaining 50 percent of voters said they did not know or had no opinion.
While some thought Fiorina might help Cruz a little with women voters, that wasn’t the case: 14 percent of female GOP voters said they were more likely to support Cruz with Fiorina on the ticket, but 19 percent said they were less likely to support him, according to the survey.
As for men, 21 percent were more favorably inclined towards Cruz with Fiorina as his running mate, but 26 percent were less enthusiastic.
“Since Fiorina’s favorability was last tested, before she suspended her own presidential campaign in February, very little has changed,” the Morning Consult polling analysis stated. “According to the most recent survey, 41 percent of Republican voters have a favorable view of her, while 36 percent have an unfavorable view of her. That is up just slightly from February, when her favorability was split evenly at 36 percent.
The Morning Consult survey polled 3,940 registered voters from April 29-May 2.
Meanwhile, a new Gallup survey found that Cruz’s choice of Fiorina did little to improve his own unpopularity with Republicans – which is legion – or find a way to cut into some of Trump’s base. Fiorina ended her campaign with a net favorable rating of +25, Gallup said, far below her peaks in mid to late 2015, but still well above that of Cruz.
“Cruz overall has more of a problem compared with Trump among Republican and Republican-leaning men than among Republican and Republican-leaning women,” Gallup said, “casting some doubt on the need to reach out specifically to women in his bid for the GOP nomination.”