A poll conducted for End Citizens United (PDF) indicates U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) is within single digits of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R). The Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling survey shows Cruz leading O’Rourke, 45%-37%, with 18% undecided. No Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate has come within single digits of a Republican candidate since former U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s (D) last re-election win in 1988.

Poll respondents supported Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, 47%-41%, in the 2016 general election, with 12% either voting for someone else or not voting (Trump won Texas, 52%-43%.). Asked about their partisan leanings, 36% reported themselves as Democrats, 40% as Republicans and 24% as independents.

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted
Cruz

The PPP poll focuses on the role of “special interest money” in politics generally and this race in particular, which is consistent with End Citizens United’s mission. Slightly more than half of poll respondents believe “special interest money in Texas elections is a major problem,” and almost another quarter believe it to be a “minor problem.” Sixty-three percent of respondents said they would be “more likely … to support a candidate who has pledged to not take any money from corporate special interests.” Unsurprisingly, O’Rourke takes a narrow lead over Cruz after respondents are informed that O’Rourke “is not taking a dime from … special interest group PACs” while Cruz “has accepted $1.3M from corporate PACs and just voted to give them a huge tax break.”

The survey of 757 “Texas voters” was conducted via phone and online and in the field January 17-18. The stated margin of error is ±3.6%. In 2016, we found that Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers consistently improved when a wider sample of adults than “likely voters” was used.

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