Former Texas Governor Rick Perry beats U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in a hypothetical 2018 GOP senate primary poll published Thursday. The poll shows Gov. Perry with a 9 point lead over the incumbent freshman senator.
The poll released Thursday afternoon from the Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) firm states that Perry would defeat Cruz in a head-to-head match-up in 2018, the Texas Tribune reported. The poll put forward several head-to-head match-ups to prospective voters and Perry was the only hypothetical candidate to defeat Cruz in the poll.
Of likely voters polled, 46 percent said they would vote for Texas’ longest-serving governor versus 37 percent that said they would vote to re-elect Senator Cruz.
PPP contacted 944 “likely voters” and is said to have a plus or minus 3.2 percent margin of error.
Other hypothetical candidates placed up against Sen. Cruz include Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and U.S. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX). Polling results indicate Cruz would handily defeat both of these potential candidates. Patrick would lose by 22 points while McCaul would lose by 32 points, the poll stated. The poll states that Cruz would also handily defeat possible Democrat challengers – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary and former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, and failed gubernatorial candidate, former State Senator Wendy Davis – by a margin of 12 points.
Cruz failed to win a majority of voters in the 2016 Texas GOP presidential primary election in March, garnering only 44 percent of the Republican voters. The poll now indicates that 52 percent of those polled would now prefer Trump as the GOP standard bearer while only 38 percent said they still want Sen. Cruz to be this year’s GOP nominee.
Senator Cruz’ re-election campaign staff dismissed the poll as premature. “Polls more than two years away from an election are of no significant consequence and serve little more than to generate headlines to fill a news cycle,” spokeswoman Catherine Frazier responded in a written statement published by the Texas Tribune. Nevertheless, the polling does reveal a potential weakness on the part of the senator’s popularity that prospective opponents might want to exploit between now and a possible decision time on announcing a primary bid.
This is the second poll released in a week showing the possible weakness of a Cruz re-election bid. Breitbart Texas reported on the KTVT-CBS 11/Dixie Strategies Poll showed Cruz with a 60 percent unfavorable rating following the GOP convention where he refused to endorse the GOP nominee as he had pledged to do in the primaries. That poll also showed the senator in a virtual tie with a potential match-up against U.S. Representative Joaquín Castro (D-TX). That poll also showed that Cruz would defeat Lt. Governor Patrick and Texas General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush by 15 and 20 points respectively.
It should be noted that none of these potential GOP rivals have indicated an interest, at least publicly, against running in a primary election against the incumbent senator.
PPP also released information showing that Texas Governor Greg Abbott remains the most popular Republican in Texas. The polling data showed that Abbott would soundly defeat either Castro or Davis if they challenged him in 2018. Abbott would win by 29 and 25 points respectively, the poll stated. Abbott defeated Davis in the November 2014 general election by a margin of 20 points. The poll suggests a 5 point improvement by the governor in a gubernatorial rematch with Davis.
The poll was conducted between August 12 and 14 by contacting 944 likely voters via phone or internet.