Democrats have picked up 34 seats during the past year, and many of these were located in areas that have traditionally voted for the GOP. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the latest poll from End Citizens United shows Beto O’Rourke closing in fast on Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. Although flipping Cruz’s seat isn’t likely to be one of the focal points of the 2018 election cycle, Democrats would certainly be buoyed by an unexpected win in Texas.
End Citizens United, a nationwide group that was founded on March 1, 2015, recently indicated that Cruz is leading by the narrow margin of 45 to 37 percent. At the beginning of the year, the Cruz campaign claimed that the incumbent Texas senator was leading polls by 18 percent. A survey conducted by Google around that same time gave Cruz a 14 percent lead. Either way, it appears that O’Rourke’s odds of winning have dramatically risen in only one month’s time.
Ted Cruz is in Danger of Losing to Himself
One of the most notable aspects of the recent poll by campaign finance reform advocacy group End Citizens United is the fact that Ted Cruz is getting in his own way. A whopping 61 percent of likely Texas voters apparently don’t know enough about O’Rourke or his political views to even offer an opinion on him as a candidate. That might not seem like a recipe for success, but in this particular case, it may continue to lead to increasing poll gains.
The primary reason O’Rourke is doing better than expected is that Cruz’s ratings show him in an unfavorable light. In fact, 49 percent of poll respondents have an unfavorable opinion of the Republican, and only 38 percent view him through a favorable lens.
Environmental Group Gets Involved in the Election
Endorsements help raise a candidate’s profile, and they can also sway voters one way or the other. In December, O’Rourke received an endorsement from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Action Fund. The same group is offering support to Veronica Escobar, who has joined a crowded group of Democrats vying for O’Rourke’s former House seat.
Can O’Rourke’s Message Carry Him Across the Finish Line?
As previously mentioned, one of the major issues that Democrats face in the Cruz-O’Rourke race is that most Texas voters don’t know anything about O’Rourke. When likely voters were given more information about his platform, including his pledge to steer clear of all money from PACS, he was able to outrank Cruz by two points. In other words, getting his campaign platform in front of the masses is going to be critical if the Democrats want to exploit O’Rourke’s current polling gains.
Avoiding PACs Brought in Big Donations for O’Rourke
During the last three months of 2017, O’Rourke was able to raise $2.4 million from supporters without getting involved with any PACs. Cruz, who is well-known to accept money from PACs, only raised $1.9 million during the same time frame. This wasn’t a fluke, either; O’Rourke also raised more than Cruz during the second quarter of 2017.
Despite these big results, Cruz’s willingness to work with PACs has enabled his campaign to put together more cash on hand. O’Rourke is estimated to have approximately $4.6 million right now, and Cruz has $7.3 million on his side.
This disparity is one of the things that End Citizens United fights against. The group’s president, Tiffany Muller, has helped showcase the power of grassroots advocacy work. By taking in an average of only $14 per donor, End Citizens United raised an impressive $25 million during the last election cycle. O’Rourke and other Democrats may be able to continuously achieve similar success by emulating this formula.
READ RELATED: How to Reverse Citizens United
Does O’Rourke Have a Good Chance of Winning in Texas?
Most experts predict that Cruz will win his reelection campaign. However, O’Rourke is taking a few pages from Cruz’s 2012 playbook, which may make the election much closer than anticipated. After all, the grassroots efforts of the Tea Party catapulted long-shot candidate Cruz into a Senator’s seat.
Now, O’Rourke is the long-shot who is using grassroots techniques to reach voters. Social media is his main method, and he’s used Facebook Live multiple times to gain attention at all hours of the day and night. This energy makes him the easy favorite in the primaries, but it remains to be seen if he can build enough support to take Cruz down in November. Of course, Cruz also needs to avoid any controversies that could further damage his chances of staying in office.
End Citizens United is on a mission to get big money out of politics this upcoming election. For more information on how to get involved at the national or state level, connect with End Citizens United on Twitter, YouTube or visit their website: http://fightforreform.org/