A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows El Paso U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke closing in on incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz as the two candidates embark on their last full week of campaigning. Quinnipiac's previous poll two weeks ago showed O'Rourke trailing Cruz by 9 points, seemingly having lost his momentum after a series of polls in September showed him trailing in the low single digits.
"With a week to go, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz remains in front, with a slim lead over U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke. O'Rourke is within striking distance, but time is running out in a race that Democrats have hoped would deliver an upset victory that would be key to a Senate takeover," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Cruz's lead, according to the poll, is built on overwhelming support among men (56-39), whites (67-30) and voters in East and West Texas (68-26 and 72-23). O'Rourke managed to squeeze almost as much support in the survey of 1,078 likely voters from Texas' black (86-12) and Latino populations (60-36) as well as Texas women (52-45). O'Rourke also leads Cruz 56-40 among those participants in the poll who described themselves as independents.
Cruz's comparative dominance among men is key, according to Brown.
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"Senator Cruz is ahead due to his winning the gender gap. He wins men 56-39 percent, while Representative O'Rourke can manage only a 52-45 percent edge among women," Brown said.
Three percent of those surveyed are undecided and only 2 percent of those who did express a preference said that they could change their minds before they voted.
The poll's release comes as a record number of Texans continue to cast ballots during the state's early voting period. Early Monday afternoon, it was already clear that Dallas County will break its record for number of votes cast on the eighth day of early voting during a midterm election. By 12:45 p.m., according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, more than 14,000 Dallas County residents had cast ballots Monday, compared with the approximately 16,000 that were cast on the eighth day of early voting in 2010, the year the previous record was set.