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Cruz Keeps Small Lead over Democratic Challenger in Texas Senate Race

Senator Ted Cruz arrives to watch President Trump announce Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his U.S. Supreme Court nominee in the East Room of the White House, July 9, 2018. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Senator Ted Cruz has a slim lead over Democrat Beto O’Rourke in Texas’s hotly contested Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday.

The former Republican presidential candidate leads O’Rourke, a two-term congressman from the state’s 16th district, by six points, 49 to 43 percent. This marks a jump in support for the Democratic candidate since the last Quinnipiac University poll of the race, from late May, which showed Cruz with a healthy 50–39 lead.

The race highlights deep divides along party, racial, and gender lines. Over half of men, 56 percent, support Cruz, while women back O’Rourke over the incumbent Republican, 49 percent to 43 percent. Most white voters (61 percent) support Cruz, while the overwhelming majority of black voters (81 percent) and just over half of Hispanics (52 percent) say they will vote for the Democratic candidate.

Cruz is still popular in his home state, with 50 percent job-approval and favorability ratings among Texas voters. O’Rourke, despite his gains in the race, still suffers from a disadvantage in statewide name recognition.

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