Poll: Cruz, O'Rourke Are Neck and Neck in Texas

Poll: Cruz, O'Rourke Are Neck and Neck in Texas
AP Photo/LM Otero
Poll: Cruz, O'Rourke Are Neck and Neck in Texas
AP Photo/LM Otero
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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke are in a statistical dead heat, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

Cruz led O’Rourke, 47 percent-44 percent, which is within the margin of error, according to a survey from Quinnipiac. It’s the first major public poll of the race and is likely to fuel Democratic hopes that the little-known three-term El Paso congressman is in the running to unseat Cruz.

Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate for three decades, but O’Rourke has drawn headlines for his fundraising -- he brought in $6.7 million in the first quarter of this year and is nearly even with Cruz in cash on hand. O’Rourke’s campaign sent a fundraising appeal to supporters almost immediately after the poll was released, citing the race as “too close to call.”

Most observers still consider O'Rourke a heavy underdog to Cruz, however, and the Democratic lawmaker underperformed some expectations in the primary last month.

The poll showed both candidates with commanding support from their respective parties, but O’Rourke led among independents by 14 percentage points. Thirty percent of voters had a favorable view of him, while just 16 percent held an unfavorable view -- although more than half of voters said they didn’t know enough about O’Rourke to form an opinion.

Cruz, meanwhile, was viewed favorably by 46 percent of voters and unfavorably by 44 percent, and just 10 percent didn’t have an opinion of the first-term senator.

President Trump’s approval with Texas voters was underwater, with 52 percent disapproving compared to just 43 percent approving. The vast majority of Republicans approve of the president and nearly all Democrats disapprove, but independent voters disapprove of Trump by a 36-point margin.

Voters listed health care and immigration as the top two issues when deciding how to vote this fall, followed closely by the economy. The survey of 1,029 Texas voters, conducted April 12-17, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

James Arkin is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at jarkin@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesArkin.

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