Internal poll: Cruz leads Dem challenger by 18 points

Internal poll: Cruz leads Dem challenger by 18 points
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWith religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again Interstate compacts aren't the right way to fix occupational licensing laws Texas Dem: ‘I don’t know what to believe’ about what Trump wants for wall MORE (R-Texas) is leading his likely Democratic opponent, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, by 18 points, according to a poll from the Cruz campaign obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

Cruz leads O’Rourke, 52 to 34 percent, in a survey conducted by WPA Intelligence, which is led by a Cruz adviser. Thirteen percent of likely voters are undecided.

O’Rourke, who has served in Congress since 2013, officially filed to run in late November and has been a prolific fundraiser. While he’s gained a number of endorsements from progressive groups, he’ll have a tough battle in a state no Democrat has won a Senate seat in since 1988.

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According to the internal poll, O’Rourke struggles with name recognition compared to Cruz. Of those likely voters polled, only 32 percent have heard of O'Rourke. Meanwhile, 99 percent know Cruz, who unsuccessfully ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

Cruz has a favorability rating of 50 percent, while 42 percent said they view him unfavorably. Of those who have heard of O’Rourke, 14 percent view him favorably and 7 percent view him unfavorably.

Democrats have been feeling more emboldened about Texas’s Senate race after their recent upset win in Alabama’s Senate special election.

But the Lone Star State won’t likely be a top fundraising priority since Democrats have a tough Senate map in 2018, where they’ll be defending 10 seats in states that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE carried in 2016.

The internal poll was conducted from Dec. 12 to 14 and surveyed 600 likely voters. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.