CNN’s senior data reporter told an amused host of “CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta” that according to Quinnipiac University poll conducted with 1,818 adults, including 681 Republican and Republican-leaning voters, GOP presidential candidates critical of President Donald J. Trump repulse GOP voters.
“Look at the critics of Donald Trump within the Republican party, right? You think of Chris Christie, you think Asa Hutchinson, you think of Mike Pence, Will Hurd didn’t even make the debate,” said Harry Enten, who joined CNN from FiveThirtyEight.com, where he was a political writer.
Enten said they all have been punished.
“Look at their net favorability ratings, Chris Christie, minus 44 points–44 percent of Republican voters are more likely to have an unfavorable than favorable opinion of him,” he said.
“That is the worst net favorability rating for a presidential candidate within their own party at this point in cycles going all the way back since 1980,” he said. “Asa Hutchinson minus 18 points, Mike Pence minus 17 points.”
The data reporter said it was a two-way street. “If you are critical of Donald Trump, the Republican voters are critical of you.”
Nowhere is it more pronounced than with the former New Jersey governor, he said.
“They, simply put, Jim, do not want to hear it in that Chris Christie rating again at minus 44 points. My goodness, gracious,” he said.
After joking that Christie was not likely to be on the general election ticket with Trump, he asked Enten about biotech investor Vivek Ramaswamy.
Enten said the Quinnipiac University poll showed that Ramaswamy and South Carolina’s Sen. Tim Scott have been rewarded for not going negative on Trump.
“Look at their net favorability ratings among GOP voters,” he said. A CNN graphic showed Scott’s net favorability at 40 points and Ramaswamy’s at 30 points.
“Ramaswamy has been basically praying at the altar of Donald Trump, so not much of a surprise that his net favorability is as high as it is,” he said.
“Scott basically isn’t even mentioning Donald Trump. He’s sort of trying to strike that middle ground, which also seems to be working,” he said.
“Either striking the middle ground or praising Donald Trump works within Republican ranks; being critical of the former president, simply put, does not work,” he said.
Enten also took another shot at the former Texas Republican congressman and CIA officer, who has built his campaign for the White House on knocking Trump.
“Most people don’t even know who Will Hurd is; he somehow manages to get minus seven points,” he said.
In a separate interview with Acosta, Hurd did not back away from his criticism of Trump.
“We’ve got to move beyond Donald Trump—that’s one of the reasons why I’m running,” Hurd told Acosta. “I’m not afraid of Donald Trump, and I’ve been intellectually honest and consistent since 2015.”
The host asked the former congressman, who did not seek reelection in 2020, why he failed to qualify for the first GOP presidential debate and why his campaign has not caught fire.
“Well, Jim, I’m, you know, the momentum, right? I’m a startup, and I recognize I’m a dark horse candidate,” Hurd said.
“My supporters are excited. They are disappointed and pissed, to be honest, that some of these polls where we’ve registered in weren’t counted by the RNC,” he said.
“We’re tied in New Hampshire with Nikki Haley and Mike Pence, two people that have definitely more name ID and have both spent tens of millions of dollars.”