A new survey suggests that a Ted Cruz ad attacking Donald Trump on his “New York values” only strengthens his appeal among blue-collar voters.
In a survey conducted by Qualtrics, an enterprise survey platform, and political research firm Evolving Strategies, 1,200 self-identified Republican voters were shown one of four ads: one supportive of Donald Trump, one by a pro-Cruz super PAC criticizing Trump, one supportive of Cruz, and a “placebo” ad with no political content.
While Cruz’s attack on Trump did appeal to middle-class voters, blue-collar voters doubled-down in their support for Trump after watching it.
“There’s a backlash among blue-collar voters, but blue-collar men in particular,” said Adam Schaeffer, the founder of Evolving Strategies.
“People who are loyal to Trump may not only find it not convincing,” said Jon Krosnick, professor in humanities and social sciences at Stanford University, but could see it as an act of desperation by Cruz.
While the pro-Trump ad, on immigration and the Islamic State, does not necessarily build support for him, the survey found that it does pull support away from Cruz among middle-class voters, with his support dropping from 16 percent to 9 percent as a result.
However, the survey also showed the pro-Cruz ad draws support away from Trump and to Cruz, with Trump’s support dropping by 10 points and Cruz’s jumping up 8 points among middle-class voters who watched it.
“Middle-class men in particular, they seem to be his sweet spot,” Schaeffer said of Cruz.
Recently, Trump bragged, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose votes.” The research also seems to show that it’s risky to take aim at Trump, because his supporters might shoot back.