Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), has made stunning gains in the polls in recent weeks, with the race now officially "too close to call," Quinnipiac University reported Wednesday. Cruz has a slight lead of 47 percent to O'Rourke's 44 percent, with a margin of error of 3.6 points.
Importantly, Quinnipiac University's poll surveyed 1,029 registered Texans. Other recent polls, such as Gallup's, have similarly found Cruz in a spot of trouble, but "the group of people Gallup is polling is the entire adult population, rather than registered or likely voters," FiveThirtyEight explains. "And in Texas, there's a big partisan gap between the adult population and the electorate. Nationally, voters, as a group, typically lean a bit more Republican than the adult population.But Texas is a special case: The electorate tends to be way more GOP-leaning than adults overall are."
While Texas is a deep red state — the last time a Democrat was elected to the Senate was 1988 — O'Rourke has additionally out-fundraised Cruz in three of the last four reporting periods, raking in a stunning $6.7 million in the first quarter of 2018.
"Democrats have had a target on Sen. Ted Cruz's back, and they may be hitting the mark," said the assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, Peter A. Brown. "Once expected to 'cruise' to re-election, the incumbent is in a tight race with Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke." Read the full results via Quinnipiac here, and read why The Week's Ryan Cooper thinks Democrats should go after Cruz despite the uphill battle here. Jeva Lange