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Latest poll: Cruz leads O'Rourke by 5 points in Texas Senate race

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) holds a five-point lead over Rep. Beto O’Rourke in the widely watched Texas Senate race, according to a new Ipsos poll released Wednesday in partnership with Reuters and the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Cruz, who is running for his second term in Congress, gets the support of 49 percent of likely Texas voters, while 44 percent support O’Rourke less than two weeks from Election Day.

In a midterm election cycle widely considered to be a referendum on President Trump, the poll shows the president may not loom as large in Texas as in other parts of the country.

About 50 percent of likely Texas voters approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president, while 49 percent disapprove. Likewise, 48 percent of likely voters say they are motivated to support a candidate who will support Trump, while 52 percent say they are motivated to support a candidate who will oppose him.

Trump endorsed Cruz and held a rally with him earlier this week.

“Ted Cruz has done so much for Texas, including massive cuts in taxes and regulations - which has brought Texas to the best jobs numbers in the history of the state. He watches carefully over your 2nd Amendment. O’Rourke would blow it all! Ted has long had my Strong Endorsement!” he tweeted earlier this month.

The Senate race has grabbed national headlines as O’Rourke has ignited various Democratic voting blocs and made the Senate race in ruby red Texas closer than expected. The state has not had a Democrat serve in the Senate in more than 25 years.

However, Cruz has consistently maintained single-digit leads in most recent polls. While The Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss up,” an average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitcs, which does not yet include the Ipsos poll, has Cruz up seven points.

Were O’Rourke to defeat Cruz, it would increase the number of paths available for Democrats to try to take control of the Senate. Republicans currently hold a slim 51-49 majority in the chamber, and an inauspicious electoral map for the Democrats that has them defending 10 seats in states Trump won in 2016.

The poll surveyed 1,298 likely voters from Oct. 12-18 and has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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