Recently, top Trump administration official Mick Mulvaney acknowledged in a private meeting that incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz could lose his Texas seat this November. Conditions on the ground in the state just aren’t getting better, with now another new poll out showing that O’Rourke with a clear shot to toppling the unpopular Republican.
Rather than 10, 15 — or even just five — percent behind Cruz, the poll, released this week by CBS Dallas-Fort Worth, has O’Rourke trailing the Senator by four percent, which is within its 4.3 percent margin of error. Forty-six percent of those polled said they were behind Cruz, while 42 percent said they supported O’Rourke, a multi-term Congressman from the El Paso area.
O’Rourke has worked vigorously to grow his campaign, having at this point visited literally every single county in Texas. He’s also gotten some boosts from viral internet content like a recent explanation he gave for his support of those who choose to peacefully and quietly protest during performances of the national anthem.
In response, Cruz and Texas Republicans have launched an array of ill fated attacks, including an ad that falsely paints O’Rourke as supporting flag burning. They’ve stood by that bold-faced lie — for some reason. Cruz spokesperson Catherine Frazier went on the record to defend the ad, claiming that her boss’s Democratic opponent claimed burning the flag to be “inherently American.”
That’s just false. It’s a lie. Whatever phrase you’d prefer to use, there’s no way around the fact that it doesn’t match up to reality.
The reality is that O’Rourke isn’t going away. Some analysts have quipped that if Democrats manage to topple Cruz, there’s no way that they’re not going to win control of the U.S. Senate as a whole. In addition to the Texas seat, they’re aiming for seats in Tennessee, Arizona, and/or Nevada, in addition to holding onto the ones they already have.
Newly available national polling numbers indicate that Democrats are well on their way to achieving that goal. A Quinnipiac University poll has Democrats 14 percent ahead in generic Congressional ballot polling, while Marist and POLITICO polls have them 12 and 10 percent ahead, respectively.
Democrats are being helped along by a generally unfavorable national view of President Donald Trump himself, although in Texas, at least according to the newly available poll numbers putting O’Rourke four percent behind Cruz, more people approve of him than disapprove. 51 percent said they were on board with him, while 46 percent said they weren’t.
Nationally, the president’s approval rating has sunk to below 40 percent again, with less than two months to go until the midterms. Poll after poll has him somewhere in the mid to upper 30s, which is bad news for those seeking to stave off the “blue wave.”
Trump, for now, is acting as though everything is coming along just fine, having literally tweeted a reference to a supposedly impending red wave of Republican electoral victories. To supposedly help that along, he will — at some point — be rallying with former enemy Cruz in the Senator’s home state.
Meanwhile, the numbers tell a story that differs from the GOP narrative.
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