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Texas political scientists cast doubt on poll showing Cruz tied with Democrat

Did you find the recent poll showing Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, statistically tied with his Democratic challenger too far out in left field to believe? So did Texas political scientists, who are questioning the results of the Quinnipiac survey.

“Nobody who looks at the record of polling and election results can plausibly look at this and say this tells us what the race will look like on Election Day,” Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, told The Dallas Morning News. “Democrats almost always tend to poll better in modern Texas in the spring than they actually earn votes” on Election Day.

He wasn't the only political scientist to raise concerns. Rice University's Mark Jones believes the poll may have over-represented Hispanics and Millennials, two groups that lean left. Chris Wilson, former director of research for the Ted Cruz presidential campaign, has dismissed the poll's results as "fanciful," claiming it over-sampled independents and under-sampled Republicans.

Self-identified "independents" made up 36 percent of those surveyed, but there's no way to tell how many of these "independents" are progressives and how many are conservatives. Sixty percent of the independents polled had an unfavorable opinion of President Donald Trump.

"There are probably a disproportionate amount of Democrats lurking among the independents," Henson said.

This poll may be an outlier, but even so, conservatives should not dismiss it as a "fake poll." Democrat Rep. Beto O'Rourke may not really be tied with Ted Cruz for support, but he did outright beat him in fundraising by more than $3 million last quarter. That means there is a base of support for his candidacy and that he has room to grow.

Cruz is certainly taking this challenge seriously.

It will be very difficult for progressives to pull off an upset win in Texas. There are just more Republican voters than Democratic voters in the Lone Star state.

The question that will matter in November is this: How many of each will show up?

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