The race for U.S. Senate in Texas continues to be the closest in a generation, according to a new poll released Wednesday that has Ted Cruz up just three and a half points over Beto O’Rourke among likely voters.
The University of Texas at Tyler poll has Cruz at 47 percent and O’Rourke at 43.4 percent. It’s the first poll conducted by the university in this election cycle. The UT-Tyler poll is one of several that shows Cruz’s lead narrowing in the final days of the campaign.
Pinned at the top of Cruz’ Twitter feed is a tweet that says “a brand new poll shows we're only ahead by inches.” It refers to a Quinnipiac Poll with Cruz up five. It was released before the UT-Tyler poll that has the race even closer.
“I think it's probably smart for him to acknowledge it,” said TCU Associate Political Science Professor Vanessa Bouche. “He's stating the obvious. He's saying, ‘Look, I know this race is close. This is not something I'm ignoring. I know that I need to continue to work hard. I know that I need to continue to get out there and convince people that is should be re-elected to another term in the U.S. Senate.
Meanwhile, O'Rourke has claimed not to use his own pollsters. He's doubted the accuracy of the polls out there and is trying to suggest the race is closer than even they make it appear.
“I feel really good about our chances,” O’Rourke said. “So we'll have to see on the 6th of November.”
O'Rourke was in the Democratic stronghold of Austin. Like Cruz, he pushing for folks to early vote. In the final days, his campaign is scheduled to focus heavily on cities in and around where Democratic votes have been strong in the past while Cruz is spending much of his remaining campaign time on smaller cities and cities with a stronger conservative base.
Cruz has faced a tougher than expected race from O’Rourke, with the Democrat significantly outraising him when it comes to campaign cash. Both candidates are crisscrossing the state in the final days of the campaign. Early voting concludes on Friday and Election Day is next Tuesday.
The UT-Tyler poll surveyed 905 likely voters from Oct. 15 – 28 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.26.