For a while all we had to go on were a pair of dueling, contradictory internal polls. But now we have two independent polls that show Ted Cruz opening up a lead over David Dewhurst in the Texas Senate runoff. A Republican poll commissioned by the Cruz-supporting Citizens United Political Victory Fund shows Cruz leading Dewhurst 47 percent to 38 percent. Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, has Cruz up 49 percent to 44 percent.
Among those who are excited about the election, Cruz’ lead in the PPP survey expands to 59 percent to 36 percent. Cruz leads among Tea Partiers by 71 percent to 26 percent, among Hispanics 78 percent to 19 percent, among “very conservative” voters 61 percent to 34 percent, and among evangelicals 50 percent to 42 percent. One interesting note from the release accompanying the poll: “The fact that Dewhurst is leading by 50 points with moderates yet still losing overall is a pretty good sign of how relevant that voter bloc is within the Republican Party these days.”
Cruz appears to have gained enough momentum to be competitive even in a high-turnout race and to be favored if turnout is light and conservative. Vivien Chang recently wrote about this race on the main site.