A new poll shows Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in a statistical tie with challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) to keep his Senate seat in November.
The Emerson College poll released Monday shows Cruz with 38 percent of the vote and O’Rourke with 37 percent, while 4 percent favored other candidates. Twenty-one percent of voters are still up for grabs in the undecided category.
In the same sample of voters, 48 percent favored re-election for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, 28 percent wanted former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, and 20 percent were undecided.
The difference is favorability ratings: Abbott is at 47 percent, while Cruz is at 38 percent.
“The disparities in popularity and in the two elections appear to be driven by Independent voters. Ted Cruz has a 57% unfavorable rating among independents and a 25% favorable rating, conversely, Abbott, the other Republicans has a 41% unfavorable and 37% favorable rating among independents. These numbers play out in the ballot test where O’Rourke leads Cruz 45% to 25% among independents, while Abbott leads Valdez 38% to 27% among independents,” said the Emerson summary. “Adding to Cruz’s problem is that he faces a popular opponent, Beto O’Rourke has a 37% favorable and 25% unfavorable, 27% were neutral, while 11% had not heard of him.”
O’Rourke leads by 19 points among voters 34 years of age and under and by 8 points in the 35-54 age group, while Cruz is 14 points ahead with 55- to-74-year-old voters and has the 75 and over bloc locked down with a 22-point lead.
Cruz has missed some votes back in Washington to stay on the campaign trail in Texas; Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) canceled half of the August recess to allow time to catch up on Senate business, but it’s also sapped the campaign time of lawmakers in tight re-election contests.
Cruz has hit O’Rourke with ads accusing him of not backing Hurricane Harvey relief and hitting the congressman for his response to NFL players taking the knee in civil-rights protest during the national anthem.
O’Rourke’s reply: “I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, in any place.”
O’Rourke’s latest ad is a montage of iPhone clips from his campaign stops in all of Texas’ counties.
RealClearPolitics rates the race “leans GOP.” Including polls dating back to May, Cruz has a 5.5 point polling average lead.