Public Policy Polling also sees Ted Cruz leading David Dewhurst, 49 percent to 44 percent:
Cruz’s lead expands to a whooping 59-36 margin over Dewhurst among voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ about voting in the election. The lower turnout is, the better Cruz’s chances will be. Dewhurst leads 51-43 with ‘somewhat excited’ voters and 50-36 with those who say they are ‘not that excited.’ The big question is whether those less enthused folks will actually bother to turn out or not.
This race is one of the most stark examples of the Tea Party movement propelling a candidate that we’ve seen to date. 40% of voters identify themselves as members of that movement and Cruz has a 71-26 advantage with them. Dewhurst leads 57-34 with non-Tea Partiers, and they are 50% of the electorate, but it’s not nearly enough to drown out Cruz’s advantage with that group.
The large name recognition advantage Dewhurst has enjoyed throughout the campaign has pretty much disappeared. 85% of runoff voters have an opinion about him, and Cruz is not far behind at 81%. We frequently found in our earlier polling that Cruz was winning with voters who knew him, but that he was losing overall because of the name recognition gap. That’s not a problem anymore. Cruz’s net favorability of +31 (56/25) is better than Dewhurst’s +19 (52/33). Since our final pre primary poll Cruz’s net fav has improved by 25 points, while Dewhurst’s has declined by 17.
We’ve known for a long time that Cruz’s supporters are more enthused, and that turnout will be crucial to who wins. But it’s interesting that Cruz is now dominating the Tea Party vote (he and Dewhurst were essentially tied among Tea Partiers when PPP did a poll in May), and that Cruz is known just about as well-known as Dewhurst. Both those factors are significant.
Also, while PPP unfortunately didn’t ask people who they voted in the primary, it’s hard to look at these numbers and not conclude that Cruz is gaining at least some people who voted for Dewhurst or former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert in the primary.