The U.S. Senate race has tightened a bit, according to a new Quinnipiac Univ. poll. U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) has nearly halved a 9-point gap in three weeks, narrowing U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R) to 51%-46% from 54%-45%. The poll also finds former Dallas Co. Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D) has made up some ground but still trails Gov. Greg Abbott (R), 54%-40%.

The past two Quinnipiac polls, also of “likely voters,” found Cruz leading by 9 points and Abbott ahead by 19 and 20 points. Three weeks ago, just 2% of Cruz’s supporters and 4% of O’Rourke’s supporters told the pollsters they “might change [their] mind before the election.” In this new poll, 98% of each candidate’s supporters say their “mind [is] made up.”

In the new poll, Cruz leads among:

  • Men, 56%-39% (Was 62%-37%)
  • Anglos, 65%-33% (Was 69%-30%); and
  • Anglos with no college degree, 73%-24% (Was 80%-19%).

O’Rourke leads among:

  • Women, 52%-45% (Was 52%-46%)
  • Independents, 56%-40% (Was 56%-42%)
  • African-Americans, 86%-12% (Was 84%-10%); and
  • Hispanics/Latinos, 60%-36% (Was 61%-37%).

The gender gap exists almost entirely within independent voters. O’Rourke leads by 9 among independent men (53%-44%) and by 28 among independent women (61%-33% with 5% undecided). There is little difference between Republican men (96%-4% for Cruz) and women (97%-2% for Cruz), or between Democratic men (95%-2% for O’Rourke) and women (97%-3% for O’Rourke).

Indeed, independent women may well be the key demographic of this whole election, from the very top of the ballot to the bottom. The prognostication challenge is estimating the turnout of this group, relative to a typical gubernatorial election, and its blue-ward shift, relative to a typical general election. This group of voters can be offset by greater turnout among reliably red voters who normally sit gubernatorial elections out across much of the state, but not everywhere. An additional prognostication challenge is evaluating any additional bump Democratic women candidates have in races against Republican men.

Independent women also favor Valdez, but not by nearly as much. Valdez leads Abbott, 48%-38%, among independent women, with 13% undecided. They are tied among independent men, 47%-47%.

Abbott is running several points ahead of Cruz in every category except for Anglos with no college degree, where he is just a point ahead of Cruz. Abbott leads Valdez among women, 48%-45%, and trails her among Hispanics/Latinos by just 10 points (52%-42%). Independent voters overall have swung somewhat toward Valdez. She leads Abbott, 47%-44%, among independent voters after trailing him, 49%-45%, three weeks ago.

The poll’s sample broke down politically into 39% Republican, 31% Democrat and 23% independent. Another 7% said something else or nothing at all. Compared to the previous Quinnipiac sample, 4% more are Republicans, 8% more are Democrats and 12% fewer are independents.

The poll of 1,078 self-identified “likely voters” was conducted using live interviews in English and Spanish via landline and mobile phones. It was in the field October 22-28 and has a stated margin of error of ±3.5%. The margin of error is higher for subgroups.

Recent polls and our reports about them:

We will repost this list as additional credible polls are conducted.

* We have serious reservations about the Ipsos and Emerson polls and included them in our reports, and on this list, solely because they received national news attention.

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