Poll: Cruz leads O’Rourke by 7 points in Texas Senate race

Poll: Cruz leads O’Rourke by 7 points in Texas Senate race

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke writes blog post describing a literal run from near the capitol to near the White House Cruz brushes off question about campaign claim on O'Rourke paying for caravan Texas New Members 2019 MORE (R-Texas) leads his Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, by 7 points in the Texas Senate race, according to a new poll released three weeks out from the midterm elections.

A new CNN poll conducted by SSRS found Cruz ahead of O’Rourke, 52 to 45 percent, among likely voters. Nine percent of voters say it’s possible they’ll change their mind in the final weeks.

Both Senate candidates have positive favorability ratings. Cruz is viewed favorably by 51 percent, while 41 percent view him unfavorably. Meanwhile, 45 percent view O’Rourke positively, while 36 percent don’t have a favorable opinion.

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The poll comes as Cruz and O’Rourke are set to square off in their second debate of the campaign Tuesday night in San Antonio. The televised showdown comes at a pivotal point in the hotly contested race.

O'Rourke recently announced that he raised north of $38 million in the third fundraising quarter of the year, which is a Senate record. But the Democratic congressman has consistently trailed Cruz and has never led a public poll.

CNN's Tuesday poll is in line with other recent public surveys showing Cruz with a high single-digit lead. Other polls have shown him with an 8- and 9-point lead, with few undecided voters.

In the CNN poll, Trump has underwater approval numbers statewide, with 41 percent who approve and 50 percent who disapprove. But among likely voters, Trump’s numbers go up, 49-48 percent.

Trump is slated to hold a rally in Houston with Cruz on Monday at the 8,000-seat NRG Arena. The president’s campaign rally could give the Texas senator a major boost in the final stretch of the race.

Compared to CNN polls in other Senate battleground states, Tuesday’s poll from Texas found a narrower gender gap, with O’Rourke leading among female voters by only 2 points.

Among Hispanic voters, O’Rourke’s lead widens to 62 to 35 percent. Meanwhile, Cruz holds a 2-to-1 advantage among white voters, 66 to 33 percent.

Immigration ranks the highest priority for Texans at 26 percent, with the economy not far behind in second at 23 percent.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 9 to 13 and surveyed 1,004 adult. The margin of error of the full sample is 3.8 percentage points. Among the 716 likely voters, the margin of error is 4.5 percentage points.