Public Policy Polling (PPP) has just released the results of a new poll of the Texas Senate runoff between Ted Cruz and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. The poll finds Ted Cruz leading 49-44 with much more enthusiasm among his supporters.
Cruz's lead expands to a whooping 59-36 margin over Dewhurst among voters who describe themselves as 'very excited' about voting in the election. The lower turnout is, the better Cruz's chances will be. Dewhurst leads 51-43 with 'somewhat excited' voters and 50-36 with those who say they are 'not that excited.' The big question is whether those less enthused folks will actually bother to turn out or not.
If Cruz wins he can thank the Tea Party. He has a 71-26 advantage with that group and they are expected to make up 40% of the voters in the runoff. Dewhurst has a large lead with the 50% of voters who do not identify with the Tea Party but its still not enough to close the over whelming enthusiasm gap. Also notable is Cruz's 78-19 lead among hispanics, they represented 8% of those polled.
Just days ago the Dewhurst campaign released its own poll showing the Lt. Governor beating Cruz by 8 points. PPP initially gave Dewhurst the advantage in the runoff because of his primary performance (he beat Cruz 45-34) and also because Tom Leppert's (3rd highest vote getter) supporters suggested they would support the Dew over Cruz 77-13.
The overall tone of the race and momentum is swinging in Cruz's favor but as runoffs and low turnout elections go, enthusiasm is generally the best indicator.