A new poll chronicling Texas voters shows Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) “neck and neck” with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The poll, released Monday by Emerson College, shows Cruz leading O’Rourke by only 1 percentage point — 38 to 37 percent.
The Emerson poll is the tightest we’ve seen between O’Rourke and Cruz, who is running for his second term in the Senate. RealClearPolitics lists eight polls analyzing the race; the average has Cruz leading by a 5.5-point margin.
None of the polls have found O’Rourke leading in the race, and the next closest result was a July poll that found Cruz up by 2 percentage points.
In its report, Emerson also noted that a whopping 21 percent of respondents were “undecided.” The margin of error was 4.4 percentage points.
O’Rourke, who was recently spotted skateboarding in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant, enjoyed a 19-point lead with voters ages 18-34 and an 8-point lead with voters ages 35-54.
O’Rourke made headlines last week when he said that he “can think of nothing more American” than the NFL players who kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality.
Though the remark earned cheers from the crowd, Cruz quickly pounced on the statement and unveiled a campaign ad tying O’Rourke to “liberal Hollywood.”
Cruz and O’Rourke are both newer lawmakers, with O’Rourke representing the Lone Star State’s 16th District, though Cruz enjoys significantly more name recognition due to his failed presidential run in 2016.
Cruz’s email list is famously massive in Washington, and he’s able to pull in astounding donations — in 2016, Politico reported he could slide into the inboxes of 1.28 million supporters.
But if this race is about money (and most races are), O’Rourke is ahead; his latest Federal Election Commission filing revealed that his campaign has almost $14 million in cash on hand compared to Cruz’s $9.2 million.
Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since Lloyd Bentsen in 1988, but if the narrowing polls and war chests are any indications, O’Rourke might just change that.
In a statement to IJR, Emerson Polling said they will conduct another poll of the Texas Senate race before November 6.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated after publication.