Latest Poll: Cruz leads O'Rourke by 9 points

The latest poll results released Thursday stabilize Sen. Ted Cruz’s lead over his challenger, Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

The Quinnipiac University poll puts Cruz ahead by nine points. He’s backed by 54 percent of Texans while O’Rouke has the support of only 45 percent, according to the poll results.

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson says the new Quinnipiac poll shows O'Rourke stalling after some polls had shown the challenger gaining on Cruz. One even put him slightly ahead.

“Whether it’s nine points or six points, it looks like Beto O’Rurke has stalled out a little bit,” he said.

Jillson believes as Cruz ads continue to pummel O’Rourke, O'Rourke needs to punch back.

“Cruz has been doing just what we expect from him. He's hitting O'Rourke hard,” Jillson said. “O'Rourke has wanted to run a very positive campaign, so he is complaining about the negative advertising. But he's not hitting Cruz back hard himself. I think he'll need to do that.”

Jillson notes Texas Governor Abbott, who has a lot of campaign money and a sizeable lead over challenger, former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez is also helping Cruz out with his ads.

“Abbott isn’t worried about winning his own race,” Jillson said. “He is worried about spreading a conservative message that will help the whole ticket, including Cruz, but also down the ballot. And I think that will be effective.”

Texas Tribune reporter Alana Rocha said the race really isn’t that close at all.

“We saw another poll, the Upshot poll from the New York Times, has nine points for a Cruz lead as well. So that’s kind of stabilizing his lead,” she said.

Thursday’s poll also shows that few people are still undecided at this point. About 96 percent of people say they’ve already made up their mind on who they’ll vote for in the midterm elections.

Anger is usually a motivating factor when it comes to who people pick for the ballot box.

“You know you have anger right now on the right with how the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings to the U.S. Supreme Court played out. But you have a lot of anger on the left too on how they played out,” Rocha said. “And people are still bitter over Merrick Garland, President Obama’s appointee who never even got a hearing in the Senate.”

Rocha believes Kavanaugh will be a distant thought when early voting starts on Oct. 22.

Cruz is holding his next rally on Friday in Houston. O’Rourke rallies Friday in Fort Worth.