A new CBS-11/Dixie Strategies poll finds U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) leading U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso), 46%-42%, with Libertarian Neal Dikeman polling at 1% and 11% undecided. It is the narrowest of the statewide contests polled, but just barely in a couple of races:

  • Greg Abbott (R) leads former Dallas Co. Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D), 53%-34%
  • Gov. Dan Patrick (R) leads Mike Collier (D), 45%-39%
  • Gen. Ken Paxton (R) leads Justin Nelson (D), 45%-39%
  • Land Comm. George P. Bush (R) leads Miguel Suazo (D), 46%-30%.

The results, at least for the SEN and GOV races, echo other recent polls that suggest Abbott has a significantly larger lead than Cruz over their respective challengers. The poll also tracks with recent polls suggesting Abbott is viewed more favorably than Cruz across many key voter groups.

Dixie Strategies found 61% of likely voters had a favorable opinion of Abbott (44% very favorable) while 34% had an unfavorable opinion (23% very unfavorable). As for Cruz, 52% viewed him favorably (34% very favorably) and 44% viewed him unfavorably (30% very unfavorably). Among unaffiliated voters, Abbott’s rating was 59/36 (33/21 very) while Cruz’s rating was 45/43 (25/30 very).

Overall, President Trump was viewed favorably by 51% of likely voters (40% very favorably) and unfavorably by 46% of likely voters (37% very unfavorably). Unaffiliated voters view him unfavorably on balance, 39/56 (27/40 very).

“Illegal immigration and border security” was selected by 33% of respondents as the issue that “most concerns” them, followed by health care (26%), “jobs and the economy” (11%) and education (10%). Nearly 60% of Republicans and 32% of unaffiliated voters were most concerned about immigration/border security. Democrats were most concerned by health care (46%).

The poll of 519 “likely voters” was in the field September 6-7 using automated dialing services for landline and “live calls” for mobile numbers. The stated margin of error is ±4.3%. Crosstabs were not provided.

The poll comes on the heels of a Crosswind Texas Pulse Poll that showed Cruz leading O’Rourke, 47%-44%, with “some other candidate” (The only other candidate is Dikeman.) receiving 3% and the remaining 5% are “not sure.” The poll found Abbott leading Valdez, 52%-39%, a narrower margin than we have seen in most polls this summer. We mentioned this poll briefly yesterday and wanted to do a deeper dive on its results here.

In the Senate race, men favor Cruz, 53%-41%, while women favor O’Rourke, 47%-42%. Likely voters under 40 favor O’Rourke, 49%-36%, while Cruz leads by 10 among likely voters aged 40 and over. Anglo likely voters favor Cruz, 52%-41%, while Hispanic/Latino likely voters favor O’Rourke, 55%-37%. Interestingly, 15% of Republicans support O’Rourke while 10% of Democrats support Cruz. Nonpartisans – indicated as “Other” by the pollsters – favor O’Rourke, 46%-39%.

Cruz (51/43) and O’Rourke (50/38) have similar overall approval ratings, but they sharply differ among certain groups. For example, women view O’Rourke (52/33) more favorably than Cruz (44/47). Likewise for younger voters, among whom O’Rourke’s rating is 63/26 while Cruz’s is 37/54. Cruz fares best among voters 40-64, which give him a 56/41 rating compared to 43/45 for O’Rourke.

More than one out of four Republicans view O’Rourke favorably, including 15% who view him very favorably, while 17% of Republicans view Cruz unfavorably, 11% very unfavorably.

Just 7% of likely voters have “never heard of” O’Rourke, a considerable improvement from polls earlier this summer.

Consistent with other recent polls, Abbott is generally viewed more favorably than Cruz. Overall, Abbott’s favorability rating is 58/38 compared to Cruz’s 51/43. Nonpartisan “others” rate Abbott at 50/44 compared to Cruz’s 44/52.

Overall, a third of likely voters cited “immigration and border security” as the “most important issue facing Texas.” Health care (17%), education (16%) and “the economy and jobs” (13%) rounded out the top four. Unsurprisingly, immigration/border security was Republicans’ (49%) top issue, while health care (28%) and education (22%) combined represented roughly the same share of Democrats’ top issues. Nonpartisans’ most important issue was immigration/border security (34%).

The partisan split of the sample was 39% Republican, 27% Democrat and 34% “unidentified.” This is close to the observed 2014 split of voters into straight-party Republican (36%), straight-party Democratic (23%) and full-ballot voters (41%). However, respondents under age 40 comprised 31% of the sample, while voters aged 65 and over comprised 19% of the survey. This is likely skewed younger than the electorate as a whole.

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