Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cruz, Trump Fight on GOP's Right Flank

Jennifer Ouellette is like many conservatives two weeks before the first votes are cast: thrilled that Sen. Ted Cruz is a leading Republican presidential candidate but flummoxed that his top challenger is Donald Trump.
“How do I convince these people to stop looking at the shiny object and to understand who is the constitutional conservative?” the mother of two from Atkinson, N.H., asked Mr. Cruz at a gathering here Sunday night. “I am having a big fight with my sister about this.”
As the 2016 primary season barrels toward its first balloting, the GOP establishment wing’s split in support of multiple candidates would in previous years have buoyed conservative activists, who have typically been the ones to split among several contenders. But Mr. Trump’s unexpectedly enduring candidacy has complicated that.
In the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 61% of Republican primary voters describe themselves as conservative. Messrs. Trump and Cruz split that potentially dominant voting bloc almost in half, with 31% saying they support the New York businessman while 27% are backing the senator. Mr. Cruz outpaces Mr. Trump among the most conservative Republican primary voters by a margin of 36% to 28%, by virtue of his support among evangelical voters.
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