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In the GOP lineup, Cruz now leads Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulTrump's CIA chief clears Senate Overnight Defense: Trump nominates Air Force secretary | Senate clears CIA director | Details on first drone strike under Trump Dems blast Trump plans for deep spending cuts MORE (Ky.), 20 percent to 17 percent, as New Jersey Gov Chris Christie takes 14 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has 11 percent, and Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioOvernight Energy: Senate panel clears Tillerson for State Senate panel votes to confirm Tillerson Overnight Defense: Trump nominates Air Force secretary | Senate clears CIA director | Details on first drone strike under Trump MORE (Fla.) and Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanTrump hosts Hill leaders for ice breaker Obama's last law: TALENT Act will enhance government efficiency The new Congress's opportunity to turn the tide on abortions MORE (Wis.) tie at 10 percent. 

The PPP pollsters concluded that Cruz is now "viewed more broadly as the leader of the Republican Party," with numbers that crush Senate and House GOP leaders Sen. Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellOvernight Finance: Trump takes US out of Pacific trade deal | WH says Trump has left his businesses | Lobbyists expect boom times McConnell to Dems: Work with us on GOP's 'formidable' challenges McCain: Trump's withdrawal from TPP a 'serious mistake' MORE (Ky.) and Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists expect boom times under Trump Last Congress far from ‘do-nothing’ Top aide: Obama worried about impeachment for Syria actions MORE (Ohio). Cruz's numbers with "very conservative" primary voters are double those of Paul's, a whopping 34 percent to 17 percent. 

Many commenters and callers have slammed my assertion that Cruz snookered the grass roots by raising money, building an email list and his profile by pushing to defund ObamaCare when he knew it couldn't be done. He knew it would take supermajorities of two-thirds in the House and Senate to override a presidential veto, but never mentioned it. He knew it wasn't true to tell visitors to his website, DontfundObamaCare.com, that "Republicans in Congress can stop ObamaCare if they refuse to fund it." But that's what it says, while encouraging donations. 

If Republicans are worried about Cruz as a potential GOP nominee in 2016, they better get going before the primaries are stuck on Cruz control.

WILL WE DEFAULT IF REPUBLICANS REFUSE AN INCREASE IN THE DEBT CEILING? AskAB returns Tuesday, Oct. 1. Please send your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.