Raleigh, N.C. – Ted Cruz leads by two points in Mississippi…over Chris Christie and over Hillary Clinton. Read another way, that makes Cruz a nominal favorite in the primary but possibly the weakest potential nominee in the general.
Cruz (19%), Christie (17%), and Jeb Bush (16%) are essentially tied for the lead among Republican partisans. Rand Paul (12%) is not far behind, and is technically part of the statistical four-way tie. Marco Rubio and next-door governor Bobby Jindal have 8% each, with the other three options at 5% or less, and 10% undecided.
Mississippi’s Republicans are particularly right-wing—46% label themselves ‘very conservative,’ versus 34% of their brethren in other states, according to PPP’s latest national poll. It is those voters who give Cruz his strength, with a 2:1 lead (27-13) over Paul, with Bush, Christie, Rubio, and Jindal back at 9-10%. Among moderates, Bush has a 6:1 lead (36-6) over Cruz, with Christie at 22% and Rubio at 13%.