Conservative Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul top the biggest Tea Party presidential poll yet, while moderates New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are dumped at the bottom, undermining their hopes of being 2016 crossover candidates.
The online poll of 62,000 grassroots activists provided exclusively to Secrets finds that conservatives and Tea Party organizers stand fully behind the heroes of their movement, including outspoken surgeon Ben Carson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
But the poll for nation's largest Tea Party group, TheTeaParty.net, and the influential conservative organization Contract from America drenched cold water on the hopes of Christie, Bush and other moderates hoping to attract conservative attention. At the bottom with those two were former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
The poll provided 11 different matchups. From there, the support for each were totaled. Texan Cruz was at the top with 84 percent supporting his candidacy, followed by Kentucky's Paul at 80 percent and Carson at 77 percent. Last of the 22 candidates polled was Christie at 15 percent.
While not as scientific as standard polls, it gives a strong indication of where the primary state activists are because they were the group targeted.
“There’s a resounding message in these poll results for the Washington establishment. This is not a survey of casual Republicans or sometimes voters. These are activists who pound the pavement, make the phone calls, and cast their votes in every election every year,” said Todd Cefaratti, founder of TheTeaParty.net.
“They have a message for the candidates of status quo Washington: We are coming for you. We will beat you. And we will send you packing from the halls of power,” he added.
1. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz-84 percent.
2. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul-80 percent.
3. Dr. Ben Carson-77 percent.
4. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker-70 percent.
5. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin-64 percent.
6. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee-59 percent.
7. Texas Gov. Rick Perry-59 percent.
8. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal-56 percent.
9. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley-55 percent.
10. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio-52 percent.
11. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice-48 percent.
12. Former Sen. Rick Santorum-46 percent.
13. Rep. Paul Ryan-45 percent.
14. Ohio Gov. John Kasich-42 percent.
15. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin-41 percent.
16. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence-41 percent.
17. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez-41 percent.
18. Rep. Steve King-37 percent.
19. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte-30 percent.
20. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.-29 percent.
21. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush-29 percent.
22. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie-15 percent.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.