Pollster: O'Rourke will need support from people who don't typically vote to beat Cruz

Pollster Dan Cox said Thursday that Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report O'Rourke on Texas reopening: 'Dangerous, dumb and weak' Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas) will need voters who don't normally vote to defeat incumbent Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: Trump ends sanctions waivers for Iran nuclear projects | Top Dems says State working on new Saudi arms sale | 34-year-old Army reservist ID'd as third military COVID-19 death Trump administration ends waivers in Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran Romney defends Joe Scarborough, staffer's widower: 'Enough already' MORE (R-Texas) in November.

"He's made it a race, and I credit him for running a good unorthodox campaign, but we'll see," Cox, who is the research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking."

"It's one thing to get close in the polls. It's another thing to get voters who don't typically vote, particularly in heavily Latino districts, and I think that's going to be the real question in that race. Turnout," he added.

Recent polls have shown O'Rourke appearing to close the gap with Cruz for his Senate seat in the deep-red state, which has not elected a Democrat to the Senate in 30 years.

The nonpartisan election handicappers at the Cook Political Report shifted the race earlier this month from “likely Republican” to “lean Republican."

An Emerson College poll released Monday showed Cruz up by 1 point, 38 percent to 37 percent, an edge within the margin of error.

O'Rourke is more popular with young people surveyed in the poll, with 47 percent of 18-34 year-olds saying they favored him, while 28 percent said they favored Cruz.

The senator leads among older voters, with 47 percent of 55-74 year-olds saying they favored him, and 33 percent saying they favored O'Rourke.

— Julia Manchester