Poll: Cruz up 9 in Texas Senate race

Poll: Cruz up 9 in Texas Senate race
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Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Cruz in 2016 said 'something fundamentally wrong' with Christians who back Trump: book Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump 'go back' tweet didn't violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon 'Prime Day' | Mnuchin voices 'serious concerns' about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid MORE (R-Texas) has a nine-point edge over opponent Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) in the Lone Star State’s Senate race, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.

About 54 percent of likely Texas voters in the sample support Cruz, compared with 45 percent who support O’Rourke.

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While both have net-positive favorability ratings, Cruz’s margin is greater than his opponent’s. About 52 percent of likely voters surveyed have a favorable opinion of Cruz, compared to 43 percent who have an unfavorable opinion. Roughly 43 percent of likely voters polled have a favorable opinion of O’Rourke, whereas 42 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

The upcoming midterm cycle is largely considered to be a referendum on President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE. Likely voters in this poll are split 49-49 on the president’s job approval. 

Cruz's 9-point edge in the poll differs from other recent surveys, which have O’Rourke only down 4 to 5 points. Republicans have grown increasingly concerned about Cruz holding on.

White House budget chief Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Acosta out as Trump Labor secretary Pelosi reportedly told Trump deputy: 'What was your name, dear?' MORE told Republicans at a closed-door meeting earlier this month that Cruz could lose his seat, citing problems with his likeability, according to The New York Times.

“I don’t think it’s likely, but it’s a possibility. How likable is a candidate? That still counts,” he said. 

Should Texas become more competitive, it would open up a Senate map for Democrats that largely has them playing defense. Ten Democratic senators are running for reelection in states Trump won in 2016.

An average of polling for the Texas Senate race tabulated by RealClearPolitics shows Cruz up by 4 points. The Cook Political Report rates the race as “Lean Republican.”

Quinnipiac University surveyed 807 likely Texas voters from Sept. 11-17. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.