Months out from the U.S. Senate election in Texas, a new poll from Quinnipiac University found that the race between incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke is "too close to call." Cruz has 47 percent support among Texas voters while O'Rourke has 44 percent, according to the poll.
The poll comes on top of a huge fundraising haul for O’Rourke, a three-term congressman from El Paso. In the first quarter of 2018, O'Rourke raised over $6.7 million from more than 141,000 contributions. That number was more than double what Cruz raised during the same time period. O'Rourke raised the money through a unique strategy of using email and social media, live-streaming his nearly every move in every county of the state. (He’s also rejected PAC money.)
Money alone is not going to be enough for O’Rourke running in a state that has been unfavorable for Democrats for decades. The last time a Democrat from Texas won a Senate election was 1988.
The key factor motivating the shockingly close finding from Quinnipiac appears to be independent voters, whom back O'Rourke 51 percent to 37 percent for Cruz. There is also an obvious age divide in the poll with younger voters backing O'Rourke by a 16-point margin and older voters backing Cruz by 7 points.
Additionally, the poll found that President Trump's approval rating was only 43 percent with 52 percent disapproving. O'Rourke will still have to work on amplifying himself with Texas voters though, as the poll found that 53 percent of Texas voters don't know enough about him to form an opinion.
The poll "surveyed 1,029 Texas voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points," Quinnipiac said.