A new poll by Quinnipiac has incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, running neck-and-neck against challenger Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, suggesting Cruz's re-election bid could be in genuine jeopardy.
The telephone survey of 1,029 Texas voters shows Cruz narrowly leading O'Rourke 47-44 percent, well within the poll's 3.6 percent margin of error.
The poll's statistical dead heat follows surprising fundraising numbers released by the two campaigns. O'Rourke drubbed Cruz by a 2-1 margin in fundraising in the first-quarter, collecting $6.7 million compared to $3.2 million for Cruz.
The Texas Tribune reported O'Rourke "posted one of the top quarterly federal fundraising hauls ever, outside of presidential campaigns."
Quinnipiac pollster Peter A. Brown says the fact a major poll has declared the Cruz-Beto race too close to call indicates the Democratic strategy of continually attacking Cruz might be working.
"Democrats have had a target on Sen. Ted Cruz's back, and they may be hitting the mark," Brown said.
The Cruz campaign did not immediately respond to a Newsmax request for comment. O'Rourke released a statement, pledging the survey results will not influence his campaign, which continues to reject super PAC money.
"We're going to continue running this campaign the right way," O'Rourke stated. "Holding town halls everywhere across the state, taking our direction from those we want to represent and putting our trust completely with the people of Texas."
O'Rourke is a three-term member of Congress from the Lone Star State's 16th congressional district, which includes his native El Paso. His ability to challenge Cruz in the GOP stronghold of Texas has drawn favorable reviews from Democratic strategists around the country.
One potential Cruz weakness exposed by the poll is his favorability rating among younger voters.
Among those between 18 and 34 years of age, O'Rourke outpolls Cruz by 50-34 percent.
A careful reading of the survey results, however, suggests O'Rourke still has a lot of ground to make up in the campaign.
Fifty-three percent of respondents said they did not know enough about him to say whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion. Politics being the comparative exercise it is, that number suggests O'Rourke will have to spend big to bolster his name ID in a massive state with a number of expensive media markets.
By contrast, only 10 percent of respondents said they did not know enough about Cruz.
Another worrisome sign for O'Rourke: The Republican voters who dominate the state appear committed to sending Cruz back to the Senate. While 87 percent of Democrats support O'Rourke's bid to unseat Cruz, 88 percent of Republicans say they prefer the incumbent.
Among Independents, O'Rourke leads Cruz by a 51-37 margin. But when voters were asked which candidate they thought would do a better job on specific – the economy, taxes, healthcare, immigration, and gun policy – voters consistently favored Cruz.
In a state where Republicans generally cast twice as many ballots as Democrats, O'Rourke will probably have to find a way to make inroads with the Lone Star State's Republican electorate.
As the Texas Tribune reported: "The blue wave some Democrats hope for has to be big enough to top the red seawall that protects Republicans. The Democrats don't need a wave in 2018 – they need a tsunami."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.