Sen. Ted Cruz has reached a new high in his race to be president, but not the kind a political candidate covets.
The Texas Republican’s unpopularity among U.S. voters has reached its highest point in his campaign, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Cruz’s negative rating is at 53 percent nationwide, a 10-percent increase since January, according to ABC News.
But while the latest numbers aren’t likely to put a smile on the Tea Party firebrand’s face, he might take comfort in the fact that he’s not the most unpopular candidate running for president.
That distinction goes to billionaire Donald Trump, who has managed to be a front-runner in votes as well as unpopularity — not a common accomplishment in presidential election history.
Trump, who likes to say that every group, including Hispanics, “love” him, now is the most unpopular presidential front-runner in more than 30 years of ABC News/Washington Post polls, according to ABC News.
He’s bested by only one person — former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Both Cruz and Trump have run provocative campaigns, slamming the Republican establishment and vowing to take a hard line on just about everything, including immigration.
Trump has won more primaries than Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a more moderate Republican who is liked better than his two rivals, but has far less primary victories and, therefore, delegates.
In fact, even Sen. Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race in March, has more delegates than Kasich, who is being pressured to drop out and not siphon support from his better-performing Republican colleagues.
Kasich has said he will not drop out.
Trump has 743 delegates, Cruz has 545, Rubio has 171 and Kasich has 143, according to the latest delegate trackers.
To secure the Republican party nomination, 1,237 delegates are needed. If no candidate gets that, and the chance to do so is getting narrower, then the Republican presidential convention would be contested.
If the top vote-getter does not win in the first round of voting at the convention, then it goes to another round and most delegates who committed during the primary would be freed up to switch their support, something that Cruz is hoping will happen.
The poll was conducted in English and Spanish, and surveyed more than 1,000 people, of whom roughly a third were Republican, a third Democrat and another third Independent.