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 CruzOn The Money: Conservative blocks disaster relief bill | Trade high on agenda as Trump heads to Japan | Boeing reportedly faces SEC probe over 737 Max | Study finds CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay Conservative blocks House passage of disaster relief bill The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan 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 TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit 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 MulvaneyTrump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit On The Money: Judge rules banks can give Trump records to House | Mnuchin pegs debt ceiling deadline as 'late summer' | Democrats see momentum in Trump tax return fight | House rebukes Trump changes to consumer agency House rebukes Mulvaney's efforts to rein in consumer bureau 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.