A new poll released Wednesday morning suggests a tightening race between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
The newly released poll from Quinnipiac University gives Cruz a 6-point lead: 49 percent of registered Texas voters reported backing the Republican incumbent while 43 percent said they support O’Rourke, an El Paso Democrat. The poll's margin of error is 3.5 percent. The results are closer than a poll Quinnipiac released in late May, which showed Cruz holding an 11-point lead over his opponent.
“U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has a slight, by no means overwhelming, lead," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. "Congressman Beto O'Rourke has done a good job making the race competitive. With three months until Election Day, he is clearly in contention. A Democratic victory in the Lone Star state would be a serious blow to GOP hopes of keeping their U.S. Senate majority.”
The poll found 50 percent of Texas voters had a favorable view of Cruz while 42 percent had an unfavorable view. O’Rourke, on the other hand, had a 33 percent favorability rating, with 43 percent of voters not knowing enough about the congressman to form an opinion of him.
Quinnipiac released its poll just hours after Texas Lyceum released polling that showed the race between Cruz and O'Rourke as in a dead heat.
Texas Lyceum showed Cruz having a slim 2-point lead over O’Rourke: 41 percent to 39 percent. Nineteen percent of voters said they were undecided. Cruz's lead in that poll fell within the 4.67 percent margin of error.
“O’Rourke continues to nip at Cruz’s heels, but it’s a long way to go until Election Day,” Josh Blank, Lyceum's poll research director, said in a news release. “If this race looks different than the rest, that’s probably because it is because a strong Democratic challenger raising prolific sums of money and tons of earned media.”
Even before it was released, the Lyceum poll drew skepticism from Cruz supporters. Cruz's pollster Chris Wilson published an article on Medium questioning whether it would be accurate.
"Dating back to 2008 the Texas Lyceum has generously given Democrats a massive house effect boost of seven (7!!!) points," he wrote, adding that the poll has historically overestimated the share of the Hispanic vote.
With 97 days before the November general election, both polls revealed good news for Gov. Greg Abbott in his bid for re-election against former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. The Republican incumbent — who’s sitting on a hefty war chest ahead of November — is leading his opponent by 16 percentage points with 22 percent of likely voters undecided, according to the Texas Lyceum poll. The Quinnipiac poll gave Abbott a 13-point lead over Valdez.
And two other Republican statewides – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton – hold 10-point leads over their Democratic challengers Mike Collier and Justin Nelson, respectively, according to the Lyceum poll. Quinnipiac did not poll the lieutenant governor or attorney general's races.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is in a less comfortable position among Texas voters. Among those surveyed in the Texas Lyceum poll, 52 percent said they disapproved of the president's job performance — including 85 percent of Democrats. Eighty-five percent of Republicans said they were satisfied with Trump. These numbers are on par with what Quinnipiac found: 46 percent of Texans said they approve of the job the president is doing, while 49 percent disapprove.
In its news release, Texas Lyceum said its poll was conducted via a telephone survey of adult Texans. Respondents were randomly selected and questioned by live interviewers, pollsters said.
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