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Political analysts break down new Cruz/O'Rourke polls

Two new polls released this week predict opposite outcomes for the race between Congressman Beto O'Rourke and incumbent U.S. Senator Ted. Cruz. (Photos: Gage Skidmore/Beto for Senate)

Two new polls released this week predict opposite outcomes for the race between Congressman Beto O'Rourke and incumbent U.S. Senator Ted. Cruz.

For the first time, one poll has U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke (47%) leading U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (45%) in a new poll released by Ipsos Wednesday.

However, on Tuesday, a Quinnipiac poll gave Sen. Ted Cruz (54%) his largest lead of nine points with O'Rourke showing favorability among only 45% of likely voters.

"The difference actually means the real average is probably somewhere in between the polls," said Dr. Brian Smith, Professor of Political Science at St. Edwards University.

Both polls surveyed likely voters, but Smith says polling isn't so reliable when it comes to predicting voter turnout.

"We look and in surveys, everybody's a voter, but on Election Day, and especially mid-terms, if Texas hits 40-percent, we'll be patting ourselves on the back," Smith said.

As the gap between both candidates remains tight, Smith says both O'Rourke and Cruz will need to keep their focus on getting their parties out to the polls and winning favor among independent voters.

"Democrats have to get independents to flip their way. Republicans have to motivate their base," Smith said. "The party that does one of those two things better, may win on election day."

Smith also says the President's performance could be a big influencer in the mid-term elections.

"This isn't just a vote on Ted Cruz, this is also a vote on Donald Trump, and that's what midterm election often are, a referendum on the president," Smith said.

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