Ted Cruz is and remains the favorite to win the Republican primary in Texas on Tuesday. According to a new poll by Monmouth University, 38 percent of likely Republican voters support their senator while only 23 percent opt for Donald Trump. Marco Rubio is in third place with 20 percent.
Earlier today another poll by a different pollster was published, and that one had Trump and Cruz tied. That’s obviously troubling for Cruz — he has to win his home state — but the Monmouth poll will undoubtedly give his confidence a serious boost. RealClearPolitics has Cruz leading Trump on average by 7.2 percent: 34 percent versus 26.8 percent. That’s a solid lead, which should normally suffice to lift him over the top on election day.
What’s more, according to Monmouth, 18 percent of Republicans in Texas have voted early, and 44 percent of those early voters have cast their vote for Cruz. This means that Trump will have to make up an awful lot of territory on Tuesday.
I don’t see that happening. Not only because Cruz has a formidable political machine in Texas, but also because the state’s political leaders have gone all in for him. Former governor Rick Perry has already campaigned hard for Cruz and will continue to do so, and he’s now joined by current governor Greg Abbott.
As for Abbott, let’s just say he is not holding back. Just look at his schedule for today:
11:18 am ET: Greg Abbott on the Glenn Beck Program
4 pm ET: Greg Abbott on CNN
4:20 pm ET: Greg Abbott on the Joe Pags Show
4:45 pm: Greg Abbott on CNBC
5 pm ET: Greg Abbott on BLOOMBERG TV
7 pm ET: Greg Abbott on FOX NEWS
And Abbott isn’t only appearing on TV show after TV show; he’s also campaigning in Texas itself. In short, Cruz still is the favorite to win Texas. If he does, he will also immediately be Trump’s only real competitor — especially since a new Florida poll has Marco Rubio losing big to Trump in his home state.
If that doesn’t make you happy if you’re a conservative, I don’t know what will. After all, Cruz is the most conservative candidate running since Ronald Reagan — and he may be even more conservative than the Gipper.