The most loved and least liked GOP candidates

Gallup has a new poll ranking the net favorableness of GOP candidates – that is, subtracting their favorable rating from their unfavorable rating.  The least popular candidate is Jeb Bush at -1% – that is, slightly more Republicans dislike (45%) him than like him (44%).  The next least disliked popular major candidate is Chris Christie, who has a net favorability rating of 23% (49%-26%).

Following close behind is Donald Trump, whose net favorable is only 24% (59%-35%).  Marco Rubio has a net favorable rating of 35% (55%-20%).  And the candidate with the very best net favorability rating is Ted Cruz at 45%.  Sixty-one percent of GOP voters have a favorable view of him, and only 19% have an unfavorable view.  Only 77% of GOP voters are "familiar" with Cruz, while 94% say they are familiar with Trump.

What are the implications for this in regards to the upcoming primaries and caucuses?  First of all, everyone seems familiar with Trump, which isn't surprising.  With total familiarity and high unfavorables, he doesn't seem to have room to grow.  Marco Rubio, with only a 75% familiarity and only a 20% unfavorable rating, on the other hand, may have upward potential.

But Ted Cruz may have even more.  With only a 77% familiarity rating, many voters have yet to form an opinion about him.  With only 19% dislikes, he has tremendous room to grow.  That's why the poll showing him leading in California, a state he hasn't even campaigned in, may not be a fluke.  Another advantage of a low dislike number is that as other candidates drop out, their supporters are more likely to move to Cruz (or Rubio).  With high dislikes, Trump is less likely to benefit.

The other implication is that a candidate like Cruz or Rubio with low dislikes is more likely to unify the party if he gets the nomination.  The opposite is probably true about Donald Trump, which would make it more difficult for him to win a general election.

This article was written by Ed Straker, senior writer of, the conservative news site.