The fierce battle for the U.S. Senate seat in Texas is still a tight battle, two new polls released Wednesday show.
One shows that, just three months away from the Nov. 6 midterm elections, Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has a slight lead over Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso.
Cruz holds 49 percent of the vote to O’Rourke’s 43 percent, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
That comes on the heels of a Texas Lyceum poll released earlier in the day that showed Cruz with a slim lead of 41 percent over O’Rourke’s 39 percent, which technically is within the margin of error.
“U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has a slight, by no means overwhelming, lead,” said Peter A. 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.
“O’Rourke makes a good impression on voters, but only about half the Texas electorate has formed an opinion of him. Sen. Cruz has a good favorability overall and is the much better known of the two men.”
The Quinnipiac poll also asked Texas voters about other races. Those results show:
▪ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held a 51 to 38 percent edge over Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez.
▪ Texas voters are split on how President Donald Trump is doing in the White House — 49 percent disapprove and 46 percent approve of the job he’s doing.
▪ And Texans approve of the job U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is doing, 39-30 percent.
The poll, which reached out to 1,118 Texas voters between July 26-31, has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. Interviews were conducted on cellphones and landlines.
The Lyceum poll also asked Texans about other races. Those results show:
▪ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has a 16-point lead over Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez, 47-31 percent.
▪ Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is up over Democratic challenger Mike Collier, 39-29 percent.
▪ And Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is up over Democratic challenger Justin Nelson, 35-25 percent.
The poll, which reached out to Texas adults between July 9-26, was conducted in English and Spanish. The overall margin of error for the poll is 2.86 percentage points. For registered voters, the margin of error is 3.45 percentage points.
Battle for Senate
Cruz, a past and probably future presidential candidate whose tea party strongholds include Dallas-Fort Worth, is in his first Senate re-election bid.
After besting the popular and well-financed then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a 2012 primary runoff, by claiming 151,686 more votes, he went on to handily win the general election and make headlines while serving in the U.S. Senate.
O’Rourke, who has traveled around the state since last year to meet voters, has raised millions to support his campaign, and some believe he has a chance at beating Cruz in this reliably red state come November.
This is the nation’s most expensive Senate race, so far.
O’Rourke, who isn’t accepting any PAC money, outraised Cruz in donations much of this year — an unexpected development. In the second quarter of fundraising, O’Rourke raised $10.4 million. Cruz raised $4 million, records show.
Both candidates have said Tarrant County is crucial in the November election, because the state will go the way the county goes.