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New poll shows Beto O'Rourke down nine points

Texas Senate race
Beto O'Rourke out-fundraises Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas senate race 04:43

A new poll released by Quinnipiac University Tuesday shows Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke down nine points in his race against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Fifty-four percent of likely voters said that they would support Cruz in the election, compared to 45 percent who said they would support O'Rourke.

The two candidates have overwhelming support within their parties: 94 percent of Republicans would vote for Cruz, and 94 percent of Democrats would vote for O'Rourke. Independent voters support O'Rourke by 51 percent. O'Rourke also has the youth vote, as a majority of voters between 18 and 39 would support him. Ninety-seven percent of black voters are also in favor of O'Rourke, and 54 percent of Hispanic voters are supporting him.

However, Cruz has wide margins of support among white voters. A majority of Cruz voters said that the economy and gun policy were the most important issues to them in the election. O'Rourke is a supporter of gun control. A majority of O'Rourke voters said that the most important issues to them were health care and the Supreme Court. Cruz voted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He is also a critical vote in the potential confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

A recent NBC News/Marist College poll found O'Rourke only four points behind Cruz, trailing him with 45 percent to Cruz's 49 percent.

The race has garnered national attention due to O'Rourke's charismatic presence Cruz's high profile. It has also raised the possibility that a Democrat could win a statewide race in Texas, which has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1976. Many view the race as a harbinger of Texas's political future, as it will show whether demographic changes have turned Texas purple, or whether Republicans can still dominate the state. 

Meanwhile, in the race for governor, the Quinnipiac poll found current Republican Gov. Greg Abbott far ahead of his Democratic opponent, Lupe Valdez. Fifty-eight percent of likely voters said they would support Abbott, compared to 39 percent for Valdez.

President Donald Trump had a 49 percent approval rating and a 49 percent disapproval rate, according to the poll. Eighty-six percent of Republicans approve of him, while 93 percent of Democrats disapprove. A majority of Independents also disapprove of the president's performance.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 807 Texas likely voters From September 11 - 17, with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points.

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