NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The wave – in Texas – may not be so blue. Senator Ted Cruz R-TX now has a 10 point lead in the race for U.S. Senate over his Democrat challenger, Congressman Beto O'Rourke D-El Paso. That is according to the latest CBS 11 / Dixie Strategies Texas Poll released Tuesday – one week before Election Day. The poll also finds Texas Governor Greg Abbott has opened a commanding lead over his challenger for that office, former Dallas County Sheriff and Democrat Lupe Valdez. Watch the Full Facebook Live Below
"Well it looks like things have really turned around for Ted Cruz in Texas," said Brian Graham, Managing Partner of Dixie Strategies. "To be a Democrat and win in Texas, you have to be a certain kind of Democrat... almost a conservative Democrat... Mr. O'Rourke is not necessarily that conservative."
If the election for Senator were held today, 52% of likely voters in Texas said they would vote for incumbent Cruz while 42% said they would vote for O'Rourke. Just one month ago in the same poll the race could have been considered a dead heat. That spread was down to just 4% - within the margin of error – with Cruz at 46% and O'Rourke still at 42%. It would appear that many of the voters who were undecided back in September are now leaning towards Cruz.
Graham said that recent events like the contentious confirmation hearings for Justice Kavanaugh and the Central American migrant caravan moving through Mexico towards the United States' southern border may have contributed to Cruz's rise in the polls. "Those issues could have consolidated the Republican base -- and conservatives -- around people like Cruz."
Cruz and O'Rourke have raised over $110 million from January 2017 through October of 2018. Now the most expensive Senate race in American history, the Cruz campaign said last Friday that it raised about $40.5 Million over that period. O'Rourke has raised about $70.2 million according to the Federal Election Commission.
Could O'Rourke's 'get out the vote' tactics; knocking on doors, making phone calls and social media strategy along with the large amounts of money raised make a difference in the race? "Absolutely," said Graham. "If Republicans don't show up to vote, with an operation that is well funded like Mr. O'Rourke's is... if he's able to turn out the Democrats to vote for him and Republicans simply don't show up? Yes absolutely he could win an election," Graham continued. "It's all about turnout."
In the race for Governor, undecided voters have largely moved in the direction of the GOP.
Abbott leads Valdez 59%-33% - a 26% margin which is up from 19% in the September poll.
The poll shows the same trend in the race for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General even though the margins are smaller.
Six points separated incumbent Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick from his challenger, Houston businessman Mike Collier back in the September poll. Now Patrick's lead has grown to 11% over Collier, 51%-40%.
Attorney General Greg Paxton now holds a 9% lead over Justin Nelson, his Democrat challenger and former law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. If the election were held today, 50% of likely voters said they would vote for Paxton and 41% said they would vote for Nelson. That's up from 45% and 39% respectively back in September.
In the race for Land Commissioner, those voters who were undecided last month broke evenly for both candidates. If the election were held today, 52% of likely voters in Texas said they would vote for incumbent George P. Bush with 36% saying they would vote for Democrat challenger and Energy Lawyer, Miguel Suazo. Back in September 46% said they would vote for Bush with 30% siding with Suazo.
President Donald J. Trump's approval rating in Texas has also spiked over the last month. According to the poll, 56% of likely voters surveyed view President Trump favorably. That is up from 51% back in September.
The President visited Texas to rally in support of Ted Cruz this month. The President told CBS 11 Political Reporter Jack Fink that he was not surprised by the request to come to Texas. "No, because I'd do it anyway. He's going to do well. I think Ted is going to do well." At the rally in Houston, after Cruz introduced the President, the two embraced onstage.
The poll surveyed 588 likely Texas voters between October 25-26th. Of those, 253 are Republicans, 223 are Democrats, and 112 are Independents. The margin of error is +/-4.04%.
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