A political analyst and former Republican leader in the Lone Star State says while he expects Ted Cruz will be re-elected in November to a second term in the U.S. Senate, it won't be a cake walk.
The high-profile former GOP presidential candidate is being challenged by Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke from El Paso, who trailed Cruz by only three points in a Quinnipiac University survey taken just last month. But in a JMC Analytics and Polling survey released this week, Cruz led O'Rourke by seven points (47% to 40%), with six percent for an independent candidate and seven percent undecided. However, the same poll shows Cruz with a 44-percent "unfavorable" opinion among voters and his major challenger at less than half that (20%).
The takeaway, says JMC Analytics, is that while Cruz has a seven-point lead, "the fact that his negative approval rating exceeds his positive approval rating [42%] means he will have a somewhat challenging re-election as the campaign progresses and Congressman O'Rourke becomes better known across the state."
Tom Pauken is a former chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. He isn't surprised that O'Rourke has fared so well – and Cruz's negative approval rating, he adds, isn't helping the incumbent.
"[O'Rourke has] a strong grassroots organization," Pauken begins. "He's got a lot of the Bernie Sanders financial backers, the small givers, who have given him money. So he's going to be very well funded. [Plus] he won without a runoff, so there isn't a divided Democratic Party."
Cruz, he acknowledges, has "alienated" a lot of voters. "I think he's running a good campaign in trying to win people back, but he lost a lot of support from Republicans and Independents the last two years," says Pauken. "But I think he will pull it out."
According to the Democrat's campaign website, O'Rourke fully supports the radical LGBT agenda, amnesty for illegal aliens, and abortion on demand. In contrast, Cruz supports a secure border and pro-life legislation like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.