Single-digit Lead for Cruz, Abbott’s Lead Just Over 10 Points

An new poll from JMC Analytics and Polling (PDF) suggests U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) has a seven-point lead over U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) and Gov. Greg Abbott (R) holds a slightly better than 10-point lead over either potential Democratic nominee. For whatever reason, the poll tests one of the independent candidates for U.S. Senate but no other minor party or independent candidates, and nearly every respondent has heard of him.

Cruz leads O’Rourke, 47%-40%, with independent candidate Jonathan Jenkins receiving the support of 6% of respondents. Jenkins is one of six candidates who filed as independents for the race, but he is the only other candidate specifically mentioned by the poll. Libertarian nominee Neal Dikeman was not tested.

Only 6% of respondents said they had “never heard” of Jenkins, which seems extraordinary, given that 5% of respondents said they had never heard of O’Rourke and 3% had never heard of Cruz. Jenkins has a net favorability rating of 9/12 with 73% having no opinion. Cruz’s net favorability was 42/44. O’Rourke’s was 35/20.

Abbott leads Lupe Valdez, 48%-36%, and Andrew White, 50%-39%. The poll did not provide respondents with the option to select Libertarian nominee Mark Tippetts or any of the eight independent candidates seeking a spot on the ballot.

The poll of 575 registered voters was conducted May 19-21. Crosstabs were included. Consistent with other polls in recent years, support for Democratic candidates is strongest among non-voters. Valdez leads Abbott, 41%-35%., among respondents who have a “voter score” of zero out of the last four general elections, which we assume means non-voters. Among the same group, White leads Abbott, 44%-41%, and O’Rourke leads Cruz, 41%-35%. The poll suggests that “independents” are fairly evenly divided, if not slightly leaning toward Democrats, but it isn’t clear how many of those independents also have that zero “voter score.”

Respondents skewed heavily toward older voters. Forty-four percent of respondents identified themselves as “66 or older.” One would expect those respondents to be more favorable toward Republicans, but the poll suggests Abbott leads Valdez by 14 and White by 13, and Cruz leads O’Rourke by 7, among that group. The stated margin of error for the poll overall is ±4.1%, suggesting significantly higher error rates for subgroups.

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