A couple of years after he lost the Republican presidential nomination to Donald Trump, Texas Republican Ted Cruz’s time in the U.S. Senate may be coming to an end. A newly released Emerson College poll has him with an only one percent lead over his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, which is well within the poll’s margin of error. In other words, they’re statistically tied.
38 percent of those polled expressed support for the incumbent Senator, while 37 percent backed O’Rourke, who has served in the U.S. House representing an El Paso area district for about six years. 4 percent of those polled said they were backing someone else, while 21 percent said they were undecided.
The numbers spell bad news for Cruz, who may have previously been hoping to capitalize on decades of Texas Republicans serving in the U.S. Senate to maintain his seat.
Although overall, he’s maintaining a slim lead, he’s clearly losing among voters from a number of different categories. O’Rourke leads among voters under the age of 55. Although Cruz maintains the support of the older voters, the El Paso Democrat challenging him has a 19 percent lead among all voters from the ages of 18 and 34, according to Emerson College. He leads Cruz among voters from the ages of 35 to 54 by a margin of eight percent, which is still above the poll’s 4.4 percent margin of error.
Overall, not many voters have a favorable opinion of the currently serving Senator Cruz. His overall approval rating is only 38 percent, and among independents, it’s even worse. Only 25 percent of independents support the Senator, while 57 percent disapprove of him.
O’Rourke, on the other hand, has far fewer detractors, although his overall approval rating isn’t as high as it could be since many voters just haven’t heard of him. Still, where Cruz’s approval rating is six percent lower than his disapproval rating, O’Rourke’s approval rating is 13 percent higher than his disapproval rating. He’s adding supporters at a faster rate than he’s adding detractors.
O’Rourke has worked very hard to do just that. He’s visited every single one of his state’s 254 counties, spending 14 months on the trail.
Texas voter Sharon Kremer touched on what makes O’Rourke so appealing, telling the Statesman:
‘Nobody’s had a candidate like this… When I saw Beto… I viscerally responded and thought, “This is the Barack Obama I saw in Chicago; this is the Jack Kennedy I remember watching on television.”‘
In his campaign to get his message and identity out to people, he’s been helped along recently by a video that went viral of him expressing support for NFL players who peacefully protest during pre-game performances of the national anthem. It’s been viewed millions upon millions of times and has earned him yet another round of national media attention.
His national media attention has run concurrent to a successful fundraising effort; he’s pulled in over $23 million while pledging not to take any money from PACs or special interest groups. In the past three months alone, he’s collected more than double the donations Cruz has, amounting to a total of over $10 million.
In other words, Trump could soon see his majority in the U.S. Senate in serious jeopardy.
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