Ted Cruz up by 10 points over David Dewhurst
Republicans in Texas will head to the polls today to cast their ballots in the runoff in the United States Senate race between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst. While Dewhurst’s team is touting an internal poll showing him with the lead in the race, a Polling Policy Polling survey released just yesterday shows Cruz up by 10 points:
PPP’s final poll of the Republican Senate runoff in Texas finds Ted Cruz opening up a 52-42 lead, an increase from our survey two weeks ago that found him ahead 49-44.
Cruz’s victory is driven by 4 things: the Tea Party, the enthusiasm of his supporters, a generational divide within the Texas Republican ranks, and the lack of regard the party base currently holds for Rick Perry.
Cruz is ahead by a whooping 75-22 margin with Tea Party voters, more than making up for a 56-39 deficit to Dewhurst with voters who don’t consider themselves members of that movement. There has been too much of a tendency to ascribe any Republican primary upset over the last few years to Tea Party voters, but this is one case where it’s well justified.
Cruz has a 63-33 advantage with voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ about voting in Tuesday’s runoff election. He also has a 49-45 advantage with those describing themselves as ‘somewhat excited.’ The only reason this race is even remotely competitive is Dewhurst’s 59-31 lead with voter who say they’re ‘not that excited’ about voting. It’s an open question whether those folks will really show up and if they don’t it’s possible Cruz could end up winning by closer t0 20 points.
Internal polls typically overstate a campaign’s strength in a given race. Nate Silver noted back in 2010 that “polls commissioned by campaigns and released to the public show, on average, a result that is about 6 points points more favorable to their candidate’s standing than nonpartisan polls released at the same time.” Silver explains the real purpose behind internal polls is “almost always designed to drive media narrative.” So Dewhurst’s polling has him by 5 points, but that’s almost certainly not the case.
Cruz is flying pretty high right now. Conservatives and grassroots groups, such as FreedomWorks, have really gone to bat for him by running ads and organizing “get out the vote” efforts.
Just yesterday, Cruz picked up endorsement of the National Review, which subsequently ripped apart Dewhurst, his opponent, for running a “vulgar and dishonest campaign.” The editors of the National Review call Cruz an “authentic conservative intellectual” and, given his background, is “proof positive that the American dream is very much alive and well.”
As Tim Carney points out, the prospect of Ted Cruz and Jeff Flake, who is running in Arizona, joining Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee, three very strong fiscal conservatives, in the Senate is exciting. Carney and others have dubbed them as the “fab five.” Those of us that are concerned about the fiscal future of the United States are calling them a “good start,” because there is still a long way to go towards putting good fiscal conservatives in office who will beat back the ever-growing leviathan.