Speed Reads

2018 elections

Sen. Ted Cruz's lead over Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke keeps shrinking

It's three months before the 2018 midterms, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is seeing his lead over Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas) steadily shrinking, according to two polls released Wednesday. A new Quinnipiac poll gave Cruz a 6-point advantage over O'Rourke, 49 percent to 43 percent, but that was a notable shift from the previous Quinnipiac poll, which gave Cruz an 11-point lead. A few hours before Quinnipiac released its survey, Texas Lyceum released a poll showing Cruz and O'Rourke neck-and-neck, 41 percent to 39 percent, well within the poll's 4.67-point margin of error.

"Cruz has a slight, by no means overwhelming, lead," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. "O'Rourke has done a good job making the race competitive. With three months until Election Day, he is clearly in contention. A Democratic victory in the Lone Star state would be a serious blow to GOP hopes of keeping their U.S. Senate majority." A close race in Texas may seem unexpected, and it is, but O'Rourke "continues to nip at Cruz's heels" because he's "a strong Democratic challenger raising prolific sums of money and tons of earned media," said Lyceum's Josh Blank, adding, "it's a long way to go until Election Day."

Quinnipiac conducted its phone poll of 1,119 Texas voters July 26-31, and its margin of error is ±3.5 percentage points. Lyceum's poll was conducted by phone among a randomly selected sample of adult Texans. In the RealClearPolitics average, Cruz holds a 6.5-point lead over O'Rourke.