Republican Sen. Ted Cruz will retain his Senate seat in November, according to analysis by the director of the Texas Politics Project.
A series of new polls has the heated race all over the map, with Cruz leading anywhere from nine points, to his challenger Democratic Rep. Robert O’Rourke of El Paso ahead by two points. But James Henson breaks down the demographics in the state of Texas to conclude Cruz will ultimately come out on top. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Challenger Gets Flagged For Campaign Finance Violations)
Poll data suggest that an average of 6 percent of Republican voters in Texas will defect on their party and abstain from voting for Cruz, in line with the national average. Assuming that all defecting voters pull the lever for O’Rourke — as opposed to staying at home or voting for a third-party candidate — the Texas congressman will still fall short by over 550,000 votes. Ceteris paribus, O’Rourke will need to pick off almost 20 percent of Cruz’s GOP base to win the election.
Rather, O’Rourke’s best strategy, albeit still unlikely, may lie with mobilizing the groups such as millennials and left-leaning Latinos, who tend to turnout in low numbers, especially for midterm elections. Henson explains that if the aforementioned 6 percent abandoned Cruz to vote Democratic and if O’Rourke also succeeded in the task of obtaining 20 percent of new voters from low-turnout groups, the Texas senator would still win re-election by over 175,000 votes.
As a reference, Latinos comprised only 17 percent of the 2014 electorate, almost half of which voted for the Republican candidate. That year, Democrats lost by 20 percent, according to Henson.
In sum, Cruz’s primary aim is to dissuade complacency and maintain the historic level of voter turnout among the right. The goal is even more attainable per an Emerson College poll released Sunday showing the contentious confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court further strengthened support for Cruz.
Cruz is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a vocal supporter of Kavanaugh.
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