A new poll conducted by Emerson shows the Texas Senate race in a dead heat, which Cruz leading by one tiny little point. That said, the poll only had a sample size was small, as only 550 registered voters were surveyed, making it the second smallest sampling of the election season.

The only poll with a smaller sample size (of 441 likely voters) showed Cruz up by only two points.

In the 2016 election, Emerson also had Clinton winning by a landslide, so there’s that.

Anyway, despite the flat numbers showing candidate preference, Emerson published age breakdown of candidate preference, but not ethnicity, which in a state as diverse as Texas is just a little bit odd.

Even so, according to Emerson’s survey, a whopping 21% of respondents are still undecided.

Where Cruz should be concerned, is overall favorability, which is significantly lower than other Republican Texans, like Governor Abbott, a statistic consistent across numerous polls this election cycle. His failed presidential bid and the fact that he ran for president just four years into his first term in office soured many a previous supporter.

There is a stark difference in voter perception between the two Republican candidates running for re-election. Abbott has a 47% favorable and 33% unfavorable with 18% neutral and 2% never heard of him, Cruz has a 38% favorable and 44% unfavorable with 18% neutral and less than 1% have never heard of him.

The disparities in popularity and in the two elections appear to be driven by Independent voters. Ted Cruz has a 57% unfavorable rating among independents and a 25% favorable rating, conversely, Abbott, the other Republicans has a 41% unfavorable and 37% favorable rating among independents. These numbers play out in the ballot test where O’Rourke leads Cruz 45% to 25% among independents..

I still don’t see Cruz losing this time around. He still carries an average of a 5.5 point lead over O’Rourke, and studies have shown that Republican voters are consistently underrepresented in polling for Texas elections.

I still maintain O’Rourke’s goal this go-round was not winning but laying the groundwork for 2024. I doubt his campaign or Cruz’s thought the race would be this close. With the influx of blue state refugees and Texas’ changing demographics, Cruz will likely get through this time but should be prepping for a knockdown, drag-out fight come 2024.