New poll gives Cruz the nod over Dewhurst in GOP Senate runoff

The Belo Debate

Credit: WFAA

Republican U.S. Senate candidates David Dewhurst, left, and Ted Cruz discussed the issues during The Belo Debate on July 17.

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 8:06 AM

A new independent poll released Sunday night shows that Ted Cruz is poised to pull off a huge upset Tuesday in the Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate.

In the survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, Cruz leads Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst by 10 points — 52 to 42 percent — with six percent of those questioned undecided.

Perhaps more importantly, the poll shows how strong Cruz's momentum is going into Tuesday's runoff.

Among those who voted early last week, Cruz leads Dewhurst 55-40 percent.

The Dewhurst campaign insists it is ahead, with an internal poll leaked over the weekend showing Dewhurst leading 48-43.  But the Dewhurst poll didn't release details of its methodology and "cross tabs" that transparently indicate how the survey was conducted like the PPP poll.

In a release, PPP said that Cruz has tightened his grip on tea party voters, "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," the poll said.

But Dewhurst isn't rolling over.  He's hammering Cruz in TV ads in the final days with millions he loaned his campaign from his own personal fortune. Dewhurst has been traveling the state over the weekend exhorting voters to get out and vote for him on Tuesday.

On Monday, Dewhurst will be joined by Gov. Rick Perry and the other top candidates Dewhurst beat in the May 29 primary —   former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former ESPN analyst and SMU football star Craig James —  at a campaign stop in Dallas.

Cruz has yet to announce his Monday schedule.

Although the PPP poll released Sunday and another in mid-July give Cruz the momentum, the fiery runoff race for the seat that Kay Bailey Hutchison is leaving is still in uncharted waters. 

There hasn't been a runoff in late July in Texas that's also some 63 days after the primary.  No one can safely predict how many GOP primary voters will return, or how many new voters who didn't vote in either party's primary will be drawn to participate in the GOP senate runoff.

Details from the PPP release on its poll: PPP surveyed 665 likely Republican runoff voters on July 28 and 29. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.8 percent. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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