In Texas, Cruz and O’Rourke go head-to-head in battle for U.S. Senate seat

April 20, 2018

The closely watched U.S. Senate race in Texas is too close to call, with 47% for Republican incumbent Senator Ted Cruz and 44% for Representative Beto O’Rourke, his Democratic challenger, based on findings of a Quinnipiac University Poll released on April 18.

There are wide party, gender, age and racial gaps in support for the candidates, the pollsters discovered—among them:

  • Democrats support O’Rourke by 87%/9% (for/against);
  • Independents back O’Rourke by 51%/37%;
  • Republicans are going for Cruz 88%/6%;
  • Men back Cruz by 51% and O’Rourke by 40%;
  • Women back O’Rourke by 47% and Cruz by 43%;
  • Voters ages 18 to 34 go Democratic 50%/34%,
  • Voters over age 65 go Republican 50%/43%;
  • White voters back Cruz 59%/34%;
  • Black voters are heavily in favor of O’Rourke, 78%/18%; and
  • Hispanic voters also back O’Rourke, 51%/33%.

Senator Cruz gets lackluster grades for his performance in Congress, including a 47%/45%t job approval rating and a 46%/44% favorability rating. O’Rourke gets a 30%/16% favorability rating—but 53% of Texas voters don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.

Texas voters “like Ted Cruz as a person,” 47%/38%. Voters “like Beto O’Rourke as a person” 40%/13%; with 47% undecided.

“Democrats have had a target on Senator Ted Cruz’s back, and they may be hitting the mark. Once expected to ‘cruise’ to reelection, the incumbent is in a tight race with Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.

“The key may well be Independent voters. O’Rourke’s … lead among that group is key to his standing today. But Texas remains a strong GOP state so O’Rourke will need the Independent strength to pull the upset.”

Research contact: peter.brown@quinnipiac.edu

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