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Beto O’Rourke leads Ted Cruz in Texas Senate race: Poll

September 19, 2018

Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke has taken the lead in the Texas Senate race in a new poll, countering other surveys that had shown Sen. Ted Cruz up by a comfortable margin.

The Ipsos-Reuters poll, in conjunction with the University of Virginia, showed him with a 2-percentage point lead. Though within the poll’s margin of error, this marks the first time any pollster has put Mr. O’Rourke ahead.

But just a day earlier, the Quinnipiac University Poll showed Mr. Cruz with a comfortable 9-point lead in his re-election bid.

While Quinnipiac conducted phone interviews, Ipsos relied on an online survey.

As always, the key is trying to predict who will actually head to the voting booths on Election Day, Ipsos Vice President Chris Jackson said.

While trying to gauge the political enthusiasm on each side, Ipsos asked people to use a scale of 1 to 10 to say how likely they were to vote.

“More Democrats are registering at the highest part of the scale, at the 10, than Republicans,” Mr. Jackson said, noting the figure is surprising because the momentum advantage in Texas has long been on the GOP side.

“It demonstrates how Democrats are mobilized,” Mr. Jackson’s statement read.

The poll also returned a surprising number in the gubernatorial race, in which incumbent Republican Greg Abbott has enjoyed a commanding, double-digit lead all year. Currently, however, he leads by just 9 points, according to Ipsos.

One aspect of the polls that may account for the discrepancy in findings lies with the election’s issues. Quinnipiac found that immigration was by far the top issue in the race, and on that point Mr. Cruz is widely perceived as much further away from an open borders position than Mr. O’Rourke. But Ipsos reported that immigration was only the top issue among those saying they preferred Mr. Cruz and that with Democrats health care was the biggest concern.

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