Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst may be poised to just barely avoid a runoff in his bid to win the Republican Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate, according to a poll released Thursday.
The latest Public Policy Polling automated phone survey of Texas Republican primary voters finds Dewhurst with 46 percent support, followed by former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz at 29 percent. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert came in third with 15 percent support followed by former broadcaster and NFL player Craig James at 3 percent.
Dewhurst needs to break 50 percent to avoid a July 31 runoff.
The poll also found that Dewhurst would lead Cruz in a runoff 59 percent to 34 percent, largely by absorbing most of Leppert's voters.
A bright spot for Cruz in the poll is that more of Cruz's supporters reported being "very excited" about their candidate than Dewhurst's.
The poll was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.
A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Monday showed Dewhurst with the support of 40 percent of likely voters, followed by Cruz at 31 percent, Leppert at 17 percent and James at 4 percent.
In April, a PPP poll of Texas Republican voters showed Dewhurst leading with 38 percent support followed by Cruz at 26 percent, Leppert at 8 percent and James at 7 percent. Eighteen percent remained undecided.
Speaking to reporters after a campaign event Wednesday in Austin, Dewhurst did not rule out the possibility that he may end up in a runoff. Both Cruz and Leppert are predicting they will end up in a runoff with Dewhurst.