The conservative base’s opposition to President Barack Obama and belief that government does more harm than good may embolden Republican Senators–like Ted Cruz (TX) and Rand Paul (KY)–to stake out more conservative positions as they think about potential 2016 presidential runs.

Meanwhile, Republican governors like New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker–and former governors like Florida’s Jeb Bush–may try to highlight their achievements while in office and potentially run as problem-solving executives who may not be as ideologically pure as conservatives who want to use the continuing resolution to defund Obamacare.

Christie and Paul, for instance, have already sparred over the National Security Agency’s spying programs, with Christie invoking the 9/11 attacks to accuse Paul’s libertarianism of being “dangerous” for national security. Paul countered and labeled Christie as a “big government” Republican known for profligate spending, citing Christie’s embrace of the pork-laden Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill.

According a recent Pew Research poll, “given the choice between a more moderate course and a more conservative one, 54 percent choose a more conservative one, while 41 percent choose moderation.”

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