Last month, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz became the first Republican to officially announce that he's running for the party's 2016 presidential nomination. Today he released his first campaign ad, Blessing, which emphasizes his faith:
When Cruz announced his campaign, his campaign team told The Houston Chronicle that he was running first and foremost as a Tea Party candidate, and hoping to draw enough social conservatives and libertarians to consolidate a win. The idea was to score big with the Tea Partiers, and then be the second choice for a significant number of libertarians and social conservatives.
But this ad, combined with Cruz's decision to announce his candidacy at the evangelical Liberty University, really makes it looks like his priority is targeting religous social conservatives. With its emphasis on faith and family, and its megachurch light-rock background music, it almost feels like an ad for a church built around spotlighting its pastor (for example).
At least so far, Cruz's strategy seems to be paying dividends: He dominated media coverage during his announcement week. And this week a Public Policy Polls survey of Republican primary voters put him in the number three slot, with 16 percent, running closely behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (20 percent), and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (17 percent). That's a big jump for Cruz, who had landed in the six slot in PPP's prior poll, with just 5 percent supporting him.