AUSTIN (KXAN) — Even though Texas voters have 531 days left to decide who will represent them in the Senate, a new poll released Wednesday shows a pretty close race between the Republican incumbent and the only Democrat to announce a challenge so far.
Pollsters from the University of Texas at Tyler asked 1,413 registered voters across the state who they would support between Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican vying for a third term in the upper chamber, and Rep. Colin Allred, the Democrat from Dallas who launched his campaign earlier this month to flip the seat. The poll found Cruz ahead by five percentage points over Allred, with 42% saying they’d vote for Cruz right now and 37% saying they’d back Allred at this early stage in the race.
However, 14% of the poll’s respondents said they didn’t know yet which candidate they’d support if the race came down to these two men, while 7% said they’d prefer someone else.
So far Allred is the only candidate running in the Senate Democratic primary, and his campaign announced the former NFL linebacker already pulled in more than $2 million in contributions within days of jumping into the race. However, he may get some company in the race soon. There are rumors state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, the San Antonio Democrat whose district includes Uvalde, is also thinking about trying to unseat Cruz. He said, though, a formal announcement could come after the legislative session ends on May 29.
Approval ratings for Cruz, Allred
Pollsters from UT-Tyler also sought to find out how much voters liked Cruz and Allred by breaking down their favorability ratings. They specifically asked if the impression people have about the two men is either favorable, unfavorable or unsure.
Most voters (48%) said they didn’t know enough yet to make a judgment about Allred, who first won his seat in Congress by unseating a Republican in 2018. The poll, though, showed 8% had a “very favorable” view of him, with 13% categorizing their opinion as “somewhat favorable.” Meanwhile, 10% said they had a “somewhat unfavorable” impression of him, while 9% ranked their feelings as “very unfavorable.” Twelve percent, though, said they had neither a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the congressman.
There are much more clear opinions about where Cruz stands with Texas voters, which is hardly surprising since he’s been in office since 2012 and ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. According to the poll, 20% of respondents said they had a “very favorable” opinion of him, while 21% classified their feelings as “somewhat favorable.” On the negative side, 36% said they held a “very unfavorable” opinion of him, with 13% having “somewhat unfavorable” views.
The poll showed only 4% said they don’t know enough about Cruz, while 6% said they had neither a favorable or unfavorable view of him.
Earlier this month, another poll showed Cruz’s approval rating among Texas voters increased from a net negative to a net positive, as the incumbent senator got his first major Democratic challenger for his seat in 2024. Pollsters from the Texas Politics Project asked 1,254 registered voters about the job Cruz is doing. Up from a February poll, 45% said they approve of his job performance and 41% disapprove.
The Texas primary is set to happen on March 5 next year, while the general election is slated for Nov. 5, 2024.