Cruz Leads O'Rourke 54%-45% in New Poll of Likely Texas Voters

(Bloomberg) -- A new Quinnipiac University Poll shows Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas maintaining a 54 percent to 45 percent lead against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke among likely voters.

That’s mirrors the 9 percentage point lead that Cruz had in a Quinnipiac poll released on September 18 in the race for the Senate seat he has held for six years.

The new poll taken from Oct. 3-9 of 750 likely Texas voters has an error margin of plus-or --minus 4.4 percentage points.

Nearly all of likely state voters who can name a senate candidate -- 96 percent -- have made their minds up in the Senate race, the poll found.

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

"The election is far from over, but Senator Cruz would have to suffer a major collapse for him to lose," he said in a statement accompanying the poll results.

President Donald Trump’s job approval in the state is at 51 percent favorable to 46 percent unfavorable, after being split evenly at 49-49 percent in Quinnipiac’s September findings.

Cruz also appears advantaged by running alongside a popular Republican governor. The Quinnipiac poll showed Governor Greg Abbott leads former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez 58 percent to 38 percent.

No Texas Democrat has won a statewide race since 1994.

But O’Rourke, a progressive three-term congressman from El Paso, has gained national attention after some polls showed the race in the heavily Republican state tightening to just a few points. The battle is seen as a key race nationally in efforts by Democrats to seize control of the U.S. Senate.

O’Rourke has managed through personal magnetism, prodigious grassroots fundraising, and some unconventional viral videos, to out-raise Cruz and achieve a meteoric form of political celebrity in Texas and nationally. His outreach to younger and minority voters, typically less inclined to vote in Texas midterms, has been one cornerstone of his campaigning.

Cruz and other state Republicans have warned against complacency, and Trump has promised to hold a massive campaign rally in the state later this month. When and where have yet to be announced.

The poll does show gains for O’Rourke among women.

It showed women favor him over Cruz 52 percent to 46 percent, and men back Cruz 62 percent to 37 percent. In September, the Quinnipiac poll found women more divided, going 50 percent for Cruz and 48 percent for O’Rourke and men backing Cruz 57 percent to 42 percent for O’Rourke.

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