Pew (as in Pepé Le ---) Research presents an eponymous finding: "50% of Republicans under 40 and 55% of those 40 and older favor their leaders moving in a more conservative direction."
To the best of my knowledge, that's no typo on Pew's part. A more conservative direction--Ideologie über alles, including any major-player future. The party's Palins and Limbaughs and Cruzes have the ineffably gullible thoroughly deluded.
They'd never acknowledge it, but the party just moved farther right--way farther right--in 2012, which only earned them asskickings in the presidential and Senate elections; House too, if one goes by the overall popular vote. But I wouldn't expect the base to acknowledge the past's realities any more than I'd expect them to vividly discern the future. They're ignorant because they listen to Limbaugh and watch Hannity, and they watch Hannity and listen to Limbaugh because they're ignorant.
So that part makes sense; perversely, but I get it. What I don't get is what, say, Ted Cruz thinks he'll get out of this less-than Faustian bargain. Sure, to a shrinking, benighted base he'll play the hero, indeed he'll be a hero. But that's as far as he'll go.
The GOP can voter-suppress and party like it's 1910, but Cruz still couldn't drag 270 electoral votes along with his recklessly hoisted nomination to the White House. And to any pol with the presidential bug as bad as Cruz's--or Rand Paul's, or Paul Ryan's, or Scott Walker's, etc. etc.--nothing short of the Oval Office would ever do.
Move in a "more conservative direction"? That the base would encourage this is no surprise. But it's a self-dooming trap for the base's heroes--whose incentive to plunge in to the rabbit hole escapes me.