Cruz-O’Rourke Senate Race ‘Too Close to Call’
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows a close race between Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke for Cruz’s Senate seat. The poll indicates that 47 percent of Texas voters favor Cruz, while 44 percent favor his challenger, O’Rourke.
The election is a crucial midterm race, with Republicans attempting to hold on to, if not grow, a razor-thin 51-49 seat advantage in the Senate. Texas is a historically red state, where Democrats haven’t won a state election since 1994 and a US Senate race since 1988.
The poll shows gaps among registered voters on the basis of gender, age and race. Voters who are white, male and older than 65 favored Cruz, while black, Hispanic, female and 18- to 34-year-old voters favored O’Rourke. Men backed Cruz by an 11-point margin (51 percent to 40 percent), and women favored O’Rourke by a 4-point margin (47 percent to 43 percent).
O’Rourke attracted a younger group of supporters, with a 16-point advantage (50 percent to 34 percent) among the 18- to 34-year-old demographic, while Cruz led among voters over 65 years old by 7 points (50 percent to 43 percent).
O’Rourke also leads among independent voters, with 51 percent of the independent vote compared with Cruz’s 37 percent. This could be significant. Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said: “The key may well be independent voters. O’Rourke’s 51-37 percent lead among that group is key to his standing today. But Texas remains a strong GOP state, so O’Rourke will need the independent strength to pull the upset.”
O’Rourke’s campaign has impressed voters on the left with its social media outreach. O’Rourke has also surpassed Cruz in fundraising for several quarters, despite refusing money from outside political groups. Earlier in April, O’Rourke announced that he had raised $6.7 million in donations through March 2018—an impressive feat for a Democrat in Texas.
“Considering this cycle that Democrats won in Alabama, Western Pennsylvania and local districts around the country that are more challenging than Texas, it makes sense that this race would be close,” said Adam Bozzi of the End Citizens United PAC, which endorsed O’Rourke because he rejected money from outside political groups.
The Washington Post continues:
O’Rourke has far from a perfect runway in Texas, even in a year where Republicans across the nation are warning of the potential for a blue wave. In last month’s Texas primary elections, 1 million Democrats voted, nearly 100 percent higher turnout than in 2014. But 1.5 million Republicans voted in that same primary, and Cruz got more than twice as many votes as O’Rourke did. …
Democrats say O’Rourke simply has a name-recognition problem. In the Quinnipiac poll, 53 percent of Texas voters say they hadn’t heard enough of O’Rourke to know whether they like him. He hails from the far western corner of the state and needs time to introduce himself. He’s certainly got the money to do that.