U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has taken a massive hit in a new favorability poll among likely Texas voters. More than 60 percent of those polled said they had an unfavorable opinion of the freshman senator. The poll also shows the incumbent senator in a statistical tie in a hypothetical race against Democrat U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro.
Perhaps most revealing in the KTVT-CBS 11/Dixie Strategies Poll released Thursday evening is the response to the question asking if the respondent’s view of Senator Cruz had changed since his decision to not endorse the GOP presidential nominee, Donald Trump, during the Republican National Convention in July. Over 53 percent of those polled said their opinion of Cruz was either somewhat less favorable or much less favorable following the decision not to endorse Trump. Just over 27 percent of those polled said their opinion of the senator was either somewhat more favorable or much more favorable.
Even among those respondents who identified themselves as “very conservative,” Cruz’ core base of support, over 50 percent said the senator’s decision not to endorse Trump left them with either a much less favorable or somewhat less favorable opinion of him. Among people who identified themselves as “somewhat conservative,” the move was even stronger with nearly 57 percent saying the decision moved them in a negative direction.
Overall, over 62 percent of those polled (likely voters) said they now have an unfavorable opinion of Senator Cruz. The senator’s highest negatives come from women, Hispanics, and blacks, according to the poll. Nearly 75 percent of Hispanics polled said they had a negative opinion of the Texas senator of Cuban descent.
The poll went on to present likely voters with a hypothetical match-up between Senator Cruz and Representative Castro. Breitbart Texas reported in July that Castro told CBS This Morning that he had not made a decision to run against the incumbent senator, but he would “take a look at it.”
In the potential Cruz/Joaquin Castro match-up, the two candidates virtually tied with 31.63 percent saying they would vote for Cruz and 31.43 percent saying they would vote for Castro. The poll revealed over 14 percent of those polled would like to see some other candidate, while nearly 23 percent were undecided.
The poll also put forth two hypothetical GOP primary match-ups against Senator Cruz for the 2018 senate race. The first matched Cruz against Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. In that match-up, Cruz would win by nearly 15 points. Again, a large percentage of those polled said they would support another candidate or were undecided. Lt. Governor Patrick told CBS 11 reporter Jack Fink that he will be running for re-election for lieutenant governor in 2018. He said he is not running for the U.S. Senate and is not running for governor.
In a hypothetical match-up against Texas General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush, Cruz fared even better with nearly a 20 point lead, but still not enough for a primary election victory. Commissioner Bush would also have to decide whether to run for re-election to the General Land Office or a possible senate bid.
Neither of these hypothetical candidates has publicly expressed an interest in challenging Cruz in a 2018 GOP primary election.
The poll was conducted by KTVT-CBS 11 and Dixie Strategies. The poll queried 1,018 “likely voters” from across the Lone Star State. The respondents were contacted via phone on August 8-9 following the Republican and Democrat National Conventions. The poll questioned 448 Republicans, 305 Democrats, and 265 respondents who identified themselves as other. The poll has a 3.1 percent margin of error and listed a 95 percent confidence level.