As the 2018 election season approaches, traditionally red Texas will be holding its upcoming primaries on March 8th. However, after the surprise victory for Doug Jones in Alabama, many Democrats believe the election in November will be more competitive than we have seen in a long time. Texas has not had a Democratic Senator in 29 years, but Ted Cruz’s low approval numbers coupled with O’Rourke’s candidacy amidst a Trump Presidency is expected to energize a Texas demographic that has seen 37% growth in Democratic voters since 2004.
O’Rourke, 45, hails from Texas, and has served as U.S. Representative for the 16th congressional district in El Paso since 2013. In terms of policy, O’Rourke is known for his support of cannabis legalization and his introduction of the Foster Children Opportunity Act which would require states to provide financial support and a path to citizenship for immigrant children. O’Rourke’s 2018 bid against Ted Cruz implies that the Castro twins, Joaquin and Julian, may seek to unseat John Cornyn and possibly take a shot at the White House in 2020.
O’Rourke will look to make gains on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 showing, where she lost to Donald Trump by 9 points but was able to flip some areas in southern Texas. We would expect Ted Cruz to do better in a lower turnout midterm election, but he is polling below Cornyn’s 2014 16-point win.
CB Polling conducted an online Google Consumer Survey of Texas residents from December 14th to December 16th, 2017. Among those surveyed, 494 declared their intention to vote, 57% of respondents indicated they would vote for Ted Cruz (R), while 43% indicated that would vote for Beto O’Rourke (D). The margin of error is 4.4%.
Ted Cruz, who is no stranger to controversy, will have to defeat former Reagan staffer and current VP of LIFE Outreach International, Bruce Jacboson, in the primary leading up to the November midterms. After failing in his presidential bid and aligning himself with President Trump, early polling suggests Cruz will still be able to defend his turf. However, this will be one of the most watched races in the upcoming cycle.
Link to the accompanying press release here.