A final poll of Texas Republican voters from PPP shows Ted Cruz leading David Dewhurst by 10 points in Tuesday's runoff election for U.S. Senate. Cruz, the former state solicitor general and favorite of conservative activists, has 52 percent support compared to 42 percent for Dewhurst, the lieutenant governor. Here's more from PPP's Tom Jensen, who says a Cruz victory is "likely":
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.
The greater excitement among Cruz voters can also be measured by their eagerness to get out and cast their ballots during the early voting period. Cruz leads 55-40 among those who say they've already voted, so Dewhurst will likely need a huge advantage among election day voters to overcome the deficit. But Cruz has a 49-44 lead with those who have yet to vote too.
Winning the Republican nomination will be tantamount to general election victory in Texas, where the GOP is expected to hold the seat being vacated by retiring senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.