Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has widened the gap to 9 percentage points over his Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.
The race has become one of the most watched in the country.
The independent poll released Tuesday showed Cruz with a healthy 9-point lead — 54 percent to 45 percent — lead over O'Rourke, a U.S. congressman from the Texas border town of El Paso. Only 1 percent of those surveyed said they are still undecided.
"The Texas U.S. Senate race between Sen. Ted Cruz and Congressman Beto O'Rourke, and Democratic hopes for an upset win there have boosted talk of a Senate takeover. These numbers may calm that talk," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "Congressman O'Rourke may be drawing big crowds and media attention, but Texas likely voters like Sen. Cruz better."
This is Quinnipiac's first survey of likely voters. It differs from previous polls that were taken earlier this year using registered voters.
The phone survey polled 807 self-identified likely voters throughout Texas using random digit dialing between Sept. 11-17. The poll has a 4.1 percent margin of error. Of those polled, 35 percent identified as Republican, 26 percent as Democrat, and 33 percent as Independent. The other 5 percent identified themselves as other, no party affiliation or didn't know.
What's the breakdown of the results?
Women were almost split evenly with 50 percent backing Cruz and 48 percent backing O'Rourke. Men favored Cruz 57 percent to 42 percent.
Cruz also leads among white voters 66 percent to 32 percent. But black and Hispanic voters favored O'Rourke, 97 percent to 3 percent and 54 percent to 45 percent, respectively.
Republicans said they supported Cruz 94 percent to 6 percent, and Democrats said they backed O'Rourke 94 percent to 4 percent.
What's the most important issue among likely voters?
Immigration topped the list of important issues to voters in the Senate election at 27 percent.
Health care came in next at 21 percent. The U.S. Supreme Court was third at 16 percent, and in fourth was the economy at 15 percent.
The election is set for Nov. 6.