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Quinnipiac poll: Ted Cruz leads Beto O'Rourke 51 to 46

GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's lead over Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D) in the closely watched Texas Senate race has shrunk to 5 percentage points in a new poll.

Cruz is leading O'Rourke among likely voters, 51 to 46 percent, according to the Quinnipiac University Poll released Monday, with 3 percent of voters remaining undecided.

The narrow lead marks a tightening in the Senate race from an Oct. 11 Quinnipiac poll, which found Cruz leading O'Rourke by a 9-point margin, 54 to 45 percent.

Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement that O'Rourke remained "within striking distance," but "time is running out" if he is going to overtake Cruz.

"Sen. Cruz is ahead due to his winning the 'gender gap.' He wins men 56 - 39 percent, while Representative O'Rourke can manage only a 52 - 45 percent edge among women," Brown added.

Only 2 percent of likely voters who said they have decided whom they will support during next week's midterm election told Quinnipiac that they could change their mind.

The new poll was conducted from Oct. 22-28, and includes surveys of 1,078 likely Texas voters. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Cruz's lead in the Quinnipiac poll is narrower than his 6-point lead in a RealClearPolitics average of recent polling.

Democrats face a narrow path in an increasingly uphill battle of winning back the Senate majority.

In addition to keeping 10 seats in states won by Trump, including some races in which Democratic incumbents are behind in the polls, they would need to pick up two seats currently held by a Republican senator.

Democrats have focused their efforts on winning seats in Arizona and Tennessee, where GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.) are retiring.

They are also hoping to defeat Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who is the only Republican senator up for reelection in a state won by Hillary Clinton.

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