Two new automated telephone polls show former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz leading Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst among likely voters in the July 31 Republican primary runoff for an open U.S. Senate seat.
A poll from Public Policy Polling, which surveys races nationally, shows Cruz with 49 percent support and Dewhurst with 44 percent of the vote. Cruz's lead grows wider among voters who identify with the Tea Party movement. Among self-described Tea Party supporters, Cruz leads 71 percent to 26 percent. Dewhurst, meanwhile, leads voters who describe themselves as moderates (70 percent to 20 percent) or "somewhat conservative" (49 percent to 45 percent).
"This race is one of the most stark examples of the Tea Party movement propelling a candidate that we've seen to date," polling director Tom Jensen said.
Cruz also leads with voters who are "very excited," about the race while Dewhurst is ahead with those who are "somewhat excited" or "not that excited," according to the poll.
"The lower turnout is, the better Cruz's chances will be," Jensen said.
Cruz is also leading with men and evangelicals while Dewhurst is doing better with women and seniors, according to the poll.
The poll, which surveyed 468 likely Republican voters, was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.
The poll is PPP's fifth survey of the Republican side of the race since September.
In a separate poll released Thursday by Citizens United Political Victory Fund, the political action committee of Citizens United, Cruz is ahead 48 percent to 38 percent. The telephone poll by Ohio-based Wenzel Strategies was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, included 600 respondents, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.98 percentage points.
Citizens United is backing Cruz in the race.
Thursday's polls follow conflicting internal polls recently released by both campaigns to the National Journal.
Last week, a Cruz internal poll showed Cruz 9 percentage points ahead of Dewhurst, 49 percent to 40 percent. The poll was conducted June 24-26 by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research and had a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points.
On Wednesday, Dewhurst's campaign released a poll of likely Republican runoff voters with Dewhurst ahead by 8 percentage points, 50 percent to Cruz's 42 percent. That poll was conducted July 5-8 by Baselice & Associates and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.
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