State Politics

Ted Cruz gets good news from a new Senate poll less than a month before election

Heidi Cruz and Amy O’Rourke open up about their husbands

With so much attention on the Texas Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke, "Ground Game: Texas" had the chance to speak with the two women who know them best. Watch more from Episode 3: http://www.star-telegram.com/GroundGameTexas
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With so much attention on the Texas Senate race between Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke, "Ground Game: Texas" had the chance to speak with the two women who know them best. Watch more from Episode 3: http://www.star-telegram.com/GroundGameTexas

Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz maintains a sizable lead in his re-election bid, a poll released Thursday shows.

With less than a month until the Nov. 6 midterm election, Cruz holds a 9 percentage point lead — 54 to 45 percent, the same lead he held last month — over Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso among likely voters, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

“Is the Beto bubble bursting or just hissing away with a slow leak?” asked Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “With less than four weeks until Election Day, Congressman Beto O’Rourke has hit a wall and remains the same nine points behind Sen. Ted Cruz as he was when Quinnipiac University polled the race last month.

“The election is far from over, but Sen. Cruz would have to suffer a major collapse for him to lose.”

The Texas-sized fight for this Senate seat, represented by Republicans since 1993, has become fierce.

This has become one of the costliest and most watched races across the country, as many wonder if O’Rourke can do what no other Democrat has done for more than two decades in Texas: win a statewide office.

The two candidates have gone head-to-head in fundraising, and criss-crossed the state holding rallies, eventually making this race a “toss-up,” according to The Cook Political Report.

This new poll shows that 96 percent of the likely voters who named a U.S. Senate candidate have their minds made up about the race.

Looking at the numbers

Cruz is drawing support from men, 62-37 percent, and O’Rourke is pulling support from women, 52-46 percent.

At the same time, O’Rourke leads among Democrats and Independents, with 93 percent and 56 percent saying they support him. Cruz draws the support of 94 percent of Republican voters.

Cruz has the edge with white voters, 69 percent who back him. O’Rourke leads among black and Hispanic voters, with 84 percent and 61 percent.

And Cruz has a 52-44 percent favorable rating, compared with O’Rourke’s 45-47 percent.

“O’Rourke may be attracting massive crowds, but Cruz has a better favorability rating,” Brown said.

This Quinnipiac survey was conducted Oct 3-9, reaching 730 likely Texas voters on landlines and cell phones. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

The poll also shows that Republican Gov. Greg Abbott leads 58 percent to 38 percent over Democrat Lupe Valdez in his re-election bid.

And Texas likely voters give President Donald Trump a 51 percent approval rating, the poll shows.

Coming up

Cruz and O’Rourke, who participated in a Sept. 21 debate at SMU, are expected to square off at least one more time in an Oct. 16 debate in San Antonio.

O’Rourke also will participate in a CNN town hall on Oct. 18 from McAllen.

Republicans have said they believe O’Rourke’s election bid “is a serious threat” to Cruz’s re-election.

Earlier this week, Vice President Mike Pence was in Dallas, campaigning for Cruz at an event closed to the media.

President Trump also plans to campaign for Cruz in Texas this month, although he has yet to announce the date and location. And his son already did.

Willie Nelson performed at an Austin concert last month for O’Rourke, who recently gained new celebrity support from Eva Longoria, a Corpus Christi native and former “Desperate Housewives” star.

O’Rourke is scheduled to talk during a rally at Fort Worth’s Marine Park Friday evening.

Early voting for the Nov. 6 mid-term election runs from Oct. 22-Nov. 2.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley
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