The Dewhurst campaign released an internal poll earlier today showing Dewhurst up:

With less than two days until the runoff for the GOP nomination in the Texas Senate race, Lt. Gov David Dewhurst has a narrow lead over rival Ted Cruz, according to a Dewhurst campaign internal poll obtained by Hotline on Call.

The survey, which was conducted this past Tuesday through Thursday, shows Dewhurst leading Cruz, 48 percent to 43 percent.

The poll was taken in the middle of the early voting period, which ended on Friday. Among voters who said they had already cast an early vote, Dewhurst holds a 49 percent to 42 percent advantage. He leads 50 percent to 41 percent among voters who said they planned to vote on Election Day.

But the only independent poll, from PPP, shows Cruz up by 10, with full results to be released soon:


While not a perfect analogy, this would mirror the late surge Richard Mourdock showed against Richard Lugar in the final week of the primary.

If the impact of Palin is as PPP estimates, this quote from Dewhurst’s campaign could prove to be famous last words (h/t Charles):

Dewhurst’s campaign argued that the cavalry of outside forces coming to Cruz’s aid reinforced their own message.

“We’d probably pay their airfare to get them in town,” said Dewhurst adviser Dave Carney when asked to assess the impact of Palin and DeMint’s visit. “It’s good for us. It’s a clear delineation of Washington vs. Texas.”

Update: PPP’s analysis now is posted here. PPP has been pretty good at polling elections, even though it is a Democratic polling firm and works for Daily Kos, but I’m not a big fan of its spin, so take the spin with a grain of salt:

… Cruz’s victory is driven by 4 things: the Tea Party, the enthusiasm of his supporters, a generational divide within the Texas Republican ranks, and the lack of regard the party base currently holds for Rick Perry.

Cruz is ahead by a whooping 75-22 margin with Tea Party voters, more than making up for a 56-39 deficit to Dewhurst with voters who don’t consider themselves members of that movement. There has been too much of a tendency to ascribe any Republican primary upset over the last few years to Tea Party voters, but this is one case where it’s well justified.

Cruz has a 63-33 advantage with voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ about voting in Tuesday’s runoff election. He also has a 49-45 advantage with those describing themselves as ‘somewhat excited.’ The only reason this race is even remotely competitive is Dewhurst’s 59-31 lead with voter who say they’re ‘not that excited’ about voting. It’s an open question whether those folks will really show up and if they don’t it’s possible Cruz could end up winning by closer to 20 points.

The greater excitement among Cruz voters can also be measured by their eagerness to get out and cast their ballots during the early voting period. Cruz leads 55-40 among those who say they’ve already voted, so Dewhurst will likely need a huge advantage among election day voters to overcome the deficit. But Cruz has a 49-44 lead with those who have yet to vote too….

Runoffs are unpredictable and it still seems possible that Dewhurst could win on Tuesday, but for now it looks like all the momentum since the primary has gone in Ted Cruz’s direction.

The full PPP Poll results are here.

 
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