The Washington Times - July 30, 2012, 02:25PM

On the eve of the bitterly contested runoff election for Texas’ open U.S. Senate seat, Ted Cruz holds a 10 percentage-point lead over Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a new poll shows.

Mr. Cruz, a former Texas solicitor general and tea party favorite, enjoys a 52 percent to 42 percent advantage over Mr. Dewhurst — the choice of the state’s party establishment — with 6 percent undecided, according to the results of a Public Policy Polling survey conducted over the weekend.


Mr. Cruz has a 63 percent to 33 percent advantage with voters who describe themselves as ‘“very excited” about voting in Tuesday’s runoff, and a 49-45 advantage with those saying they’re “somewhat excited,” the poll says. Mr. Dewhurst’s hold a 59-31 lead with voters who say they’re “not that excited” about voting.

Mr. Cruz leads 55 percent to 40 percent among those who say they’ve already cast ballots in early voting, so Dewhurst will likely need a huge advantage among election day voters to overcome the deficit, the pollster said. But Mr. Cruz also has a 49-44 lead with those who have yet to vote.

A similar Public Policy Polling survey taken two July 10-11 showed Mr. Cruz with a 5 percentage-point advantage.

“Runoffs are unpredictable so it would be premature to totally write off David Dewhurst,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “But things are definitely trending strongly in Ted Cruz’s direction and he already has a lead on the votes in the bank.”

The automated telephone survey of 665 likely Republican runoff voters has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.8 percent.