GOP pollster: National attention could hurt Beto O'Rourke in Texas Senate race

Republican pollster Conor Maguire says the large amount of national attention on Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Fox's Ed Henry to Trump: 'Are you willing to stand up to the NRA?' Sanders, Yang to miss CNN's town hall on LGBTQ issues MORE (D-Texas) could ultimately hurt his bid to unseat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz endorses GOP candidate for Senate in New Hampshire Missouri Republican wins annual craft brewing competition for lawmakers GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan MORE (R-Texas). 

"It is interesting to see the amount of national money coming in, and having Beto O'Rourke being this Democrat, national figure, I'm fine with that. Let Democrats think they've got some shot in Texas," Maguire told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking" on Tuesday. 

"But in Texas, people stand for the national anthem. People stand for the pledge of allegiance," he continued, referring to a video showing O'Rourke defending NFL players who kneel during the anthem to protest police violence.

"Texas is the Lone Star State, they are very strong, believe that themselves or the most important things don't really need national money from Hollywood, and East Coast liberals coming in, and so I think you see a lot of that blowing back on Beto," he continued. 

In the viral video, O'Rourke said he "can think of nothing more American" than the players protesting.

O'Rourke's defense of NFL players protests led Cruz to release an ad on Monday, portraying him as out of touch. 

“Nothing more American? Liberal Hollywood was thrilled,” the ad said. “But do Texans agree?”

Democratic pollster Nancy Zdunkewicz, who is from Texas, fired back, saying Cruz was the candidate who was out of touch. 

“That’s really funny that you would say that because this is a candidate who's raising money from small-dollar donations, and going to every county in Texas to campaign," Zdunkewicz, managing editor at Democracy Corps, said of O'Rourke.

"Ted Cruz is the one who's using super PAC money, and who's taking corporate donations. So I find it ironic that that's the point that you're going to try to make about him." 

Recent polls have shown O'Rourke gaining momentum and in a tight race with Cruz in the red state.

An Emerson College poll released Monday showed Cruz up by one point, 38 percent  to 37 percent, an edge within the margin of error.

Another poll last week by NBC News-Marist found Cruz leading O'Rourke by 4 points.

— Julia Manchester