Does Beto O'Rourke have a chance to oust Ted Cruz?


Could a mod close this thread please?

Just kidding.

I stumbled across this poll from a couple weeks ago and now my interest is piqued.

Before I go into detail on the parts I find interesting I will point out that the poll was conducted by a democratic polling firm (PPP) and paid by the End Citizens United PAC and should be viewed with that in mind. Furthermore, one poll never tells the whole story and polling this far out is not particularly reliable.

That said…


Ted Cruz’s favorability is underwater by 11 points among Texans.


That’s an 8 point gap with 18% undecided. That looks closeable to me. I don’t see why Ted Cruz would have a lot of room to grow here. Don’t Texas voters know everything they need to know about him?


OK. That’s a bit of a push poll. I’m going to charitably say that this shows that Beto has a chance if he can get his message out. Right?

So what do you think? Is Ted Cruz vulnerable or am I a victim of wishful thinking?

I wouldn’t be surprised if 18% of Texans didn’t know who Ted Cruz was. Not everyone is a news or political junkie. But the first thing I’d want to know about that poll is whether they were asking likely voters or not. And how motivated are the two sides in Texas to get to the polls this November. Is there any chance Cruz has a viable primary challenger he has to beat first?

This is the first I’ve heard of him, but based on those numbers AND what we saw in Alabama and Virginia, I’d say YES, in my opinion Mr. O’Rourke has an excellent chance of ousting Ted Cruz.

It looks like that was everyone surveyed not likely, or registered, voters. The results I found from their poll don’t specify anythign about voting status and don’t include crosstabs. They didn’t even ask if those surveyed were registered voters. 12% of those polled either didn’t vote for President or voted third party.

Yep, and an internal Cruz poll shows him up over O’Rourke by 18 points (Link.

I certainly think that O’Rourke is credible. But Texas is not a purple state like Virginia, and Cruz (for all his faults) is not nearly the nut job that Roy Moore is. The Democratic Party in the state is a shell of its former self, and with so many Democrats in red states to defend it’s unlikely the national party will commit major resources.

Four years ago, with every statewide office but Cruz’s Senate seat on the ballot, Republicans won every race by at least 20 points (including the re-election of Senator John Cornyn). Given the national environment I expect Beto will keep it within single digits. And Texas is trending more Democratic, if only because it’d be nearly impossible for it to become more Republican. But until Democrats can build up more of a farm team and party apparatus I don’t see them pulling off a statewide win.

Reading polls this early on is a bit of an art. It’s best to leave the interpretation up to numerate experts. As opposed to pundits, who are not necessarily numerate.

I like Cook’s political report. Cook rates Texas a “Solid R”, meaning as of 12/15/2017 it’s a safe seat.

Larry Sabato also provides ratings. As of Jan 31, 2018, Sabato ranks Texas as a “Likely R”, or 6 on a scale from 1-7, with 7 being a Republican safe seat.

Holy moley, the Dems have a thin chance in Texas. Remember, 2018 could be a wave election, though the Dems’s margin on the congressional generic ballot poll has gotten thinner.

Beto O’Rourke is a strong challenger, a representative from Texas’ 16th district, an internet entrepreneur and a rock and roller. His fundraising totals during the last quarter surpassed those of Ted Cruz.

If this were an ordinary election year, I’d put O’Rourke’s odds at a respectable 5-15%, if only because everyone hates Ted Cruz, especially his fellow Republicans. But there are elevated odds of this being a wave year, so I’d give O’Rourke 10-35% odds. Those will recede if his Cook/Sabato ratings remain where they are next Fall.
The Texas primary is in March; registration must be completed by next Monday evening. Christian television executive Bruce Jacobson is challenging Ted in the GOP primary. I think most fundamentalists would agree that you can’t get godlier than that, though we are all sinners.

Go Bruce!

Yes. Not likely, but a definite chance. Cruz’s position is not as strong in this state as those numbers show, and his toadying up to a New Yorker who called his father a murderer and his wife a whore has not set well among a surprisingly large portion of the state. Beto should run a “I will fight for my father. I will fight for my wife. And I will fight for Texas, for you.” ad.

Also, in print one can’t tell that they pronounced O’Rourke’s name with a faint Irish accent, but went full-on Ricky Ricardo each time they mentioned RRRRR-afael Cruz.

Maybe a 5% chance, I’d say. Even in a wave year, this one’s a longshot.

Beto has managed to raise a pretty good war chest - he ended 2017 with $4.6M cash on hand, compared to Cruz’ $7.3M. (Beto’s actually been outraising Cruz in the last half of 2017. Cruz has more because he’s been raising money for re-election probably since he got elected in the first place.) If this turns into a real race, Cruz won’t be able to dominate the airwaves.

I read a somewhat fawning piece about O’Rourke in Texas Monthly. I gather that his “message” is “vote for me, I’m not Ted Cruz”.

Which understandably has considerable appeal for many Texas voters, but it’d help if Beto had something other than looks and vague platitudes.

It could turn into an entertainingly nasty race, with plenty of attack ads (Beto has a record of arrests for attempted burglary and DUI (no convictions) and has supported legalized pot.

I think he has about the same chance, or maybe slightly less, than the Democrats had to win the recent Alabama special election. Ted Cruz is not as awful a candidate as Roy Moore, but Texas is also significantly less deep-red than Alabama. So I’d say a low chance but not infinitesimal.

There’s a relevant PredictIt market for this… Will Ted Cruz be re-elected to the U.S. Senate in Texas in 2018?

Right now it’s about three to one in favor of three time Punchable Face Magazine Man of the Year Ted Cruz or around 75% probability.

It should be noted that the 25% chance of failure rolls together Cruz’s chance of losing his primary and losing the general to whoever wins the democratic primary so it is not Beto O’Rourke specific. However, as pointed out above, Texas has one of the earliest primaries and is just a little over a month away at this point with a possible run-off in May if necessary so this will be down to a two man race pretty soon.

Roy Moore’s case doesn’t show us much more than what happens when a creepy, teen-age molesting, guy who was never very popular to begin with tries to run for the Senate in a very conservative state. Alabama typically elects Republicans by a 2-1 margin, but Moore won his last election (before the creepy shit became public) by a slim ~1% margin.

Unless Cruz is shown to have groped teenager girls (or boys) when he was in his 30s, I doubt the Roy Moore example is useful at all.

I know a guy in Austin who was wearing a VOTE BETO shirt. I asked him why I should vote for Beto, and his reply was “he’s not Ted Cruz.”

That’s actually a good enough reason for me.

Here’s 538.

That’s getting into the specifics, while I was intending a broader, “20,000 feet” look. I’m looking at two characteristics that affect a statewide race – candidate strength/skill, and state lean. I’m estimating that Roy Moore was about a 1 or a 2 on a 10 point scale in strength and skill (his history, scandals, and rhetoric), while Alabama is about an 8 in terms of Republican lean. I think Cruz is about a 3 or so in terms of candidate strength and skill, while Texas is about a 6 or 7 in terms of Republican lean. That doesn’t get into opponent strength – maybe Doug Jones was about a 6 or 7, and I’m not sure about O’Rourke, but that’s another important factor.

It makes no sense to ignore the specifics when the specifics include “creepy old guy who chased after and molested teenage girls well into his 30s”. You’re not seeing the (rotten) tree for the forest.

I’m including the specifics in my broad look. Moore gets such a low value on this broad strength/skill characteristic due to those scandals (among other things).

If you don’t like the way I’m looking at it, that’s fine. It’s just my opinion.

There are too many things running in Cruz’ favor here. O’Rourke might make it a horse race, but I don’t see him actually winning, with the usual caveat, barring some political disaster occurring for Cruz.

(But then, it seems Republicans have become immune to that kind of thing over the last couple of years. As long as their guy gets in.)

Indeed, one of the wild card factors - outlined above - is that the President is very unpopular in Texas. It may be a red state, sure, but pissing off latinos is a bad idea. And Cruz doesn’t get much credit for being of Spanish descent.

Now, can that unpopularity give headwind to Cruz? Maybe. But he can’t count on Trump to give him a boost this time around. He’ll have to live or die on his own. It’ll be interesting to watch.