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We'll resume polling in Texas soon.

October 09,2018 10:24

It's a particularly challenging question this year, since special elections have shown Democrats voting in large numbers. To estimate the likely electorate, we combine what people say about how likely they are to vote with information about how often ...



NYT Upshot / Siena College Poll

Can Democrats turn Texas blue? We’ve made
11360 calls, and
200 people have spoken to us so far.

Our poll is just getting started.

54% ±8

Ted Cruz Incumbent

4%

Undecided

42% ±8

Beto O’Rourke Congressman

Don’t take this poll seriously until we reach at least 250 people. We’re at 200.

Race details
Results over time
Turnout
Who’s answering
Issues
Crosstabs

Where we’ve called:
Each dot shows one of the
11360 calls we’ve made. Vote choice: Dem. Rep. Don’t know Didn’t answer
Explore the 2016 election in detail with this interactive map.
About the race

Beto O’Rourke is a U.S. representative for Texas’ 16th District, which includes most of El Paso County, first elected in 2012. 39% favorable rating; 46% unfavorable; 15% don’t know

Ted Cruz is the incumbent, first elected in 2012. 50% favorable rating; 42% unfavorable; 8% don’t know

Texas has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976, and has not voted for any Democrat to statewide office since 1994.

The contrast in the candidates could not be more stark: Mr. Cruz is the personification of Tea Party Republican activism, and Mr. O’Rourke is running as an unabashed progressive.

Mr. Cruz finished second to Mr. Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, calling him “utterly amoral” in the final days of the campaign but recently welcoming a coming visit by him for a campaign rally. Mr. Cruz is known for his formidable debating skills and his slashing verbal attacks on opponents. He has not been particularly well liked in the Senate, even among fellow Republicans. Former Speaker John Boehner called him “Lucifer in the flesh.”

Mr. O’Rourke is now a national figure because of his charismatic presence on the campaign trail, embodying the dreams of many Democrats beyond Texas, some who see him as a promising presidential candidate. He is not accepting money from PACs, he has visited every county in the state, and he has emphasized his commitment to bipartisanship. But his positions are well to the left of most voters in the state, and he has struggled to answer accusations that he left the scene of a crash after a drunken-driving incident when he was 26.

The staggering amount of money raised in this race — $23 million apiece in the most recent reporting period, with Mr. O’Rourke receiving much of his donations in small, individual amounts — reflects the intense interest it has attracted.

Previous election results:
2016 President
+9 Trump
2012 President
+16 Romney

It’s generally best to look at a single poll in the context of other polls:
Polls
O'Rourke
Cruz
Margin
YouGov n = 881 lv
44%
50%
Cruz +6
Public Policy Polling (D.) 613 v
46%
49%
Cruz +3
Vox Populi Polling 508 lv
50%
50%
Even
Reform Austin (D.) 1161 lv
45%
49%
Cruz +4
Quinnipiac University 807 lv
45%
54%
Cruz +9
Rasmussen Reports/Pulse Opinion Research 800 lv
44%
47%
Cruz +3
Ipsos 992 lv
47%
45%
O'Rourke +2
Dixie Strategies 519 lv
42%
46%
Cruz +4
Emerson College 550 rv
37%
38%
Cruz +1
Marist College 759 rv
45%
49%
Cruz +4
Public Policy Polling (D.) 797 v
42%
46%
Cruz +4
Quinnipiac University 1118 rv
43%
49%
Cruz +6
Texas Lyceum 441 lv
39%
41%
Cruz +2
Gravis Marketing 602 lv
42%
51%
Cruz +9
YouGov 821 lv
40%
50%
Cruz +10
YouGov 1200 rv
36%
41%
Cruz +5
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (Democracy Corps) (D.) 1000 lv
43%
49%
Cruz +6
Quinnipiac University 961 rv
39%
50%
Cruz +11
Baselice & Associates Inc. (R.) 601 lv
36%
48%
Cruz +12
Public Policy Polling (D.) 861 v
42%
48%
Cruz +6
JMC Enterprises (R.) 575 lv
40%
47%
Cruz +7
Quinnipiac University 1029 rv
44%
47%
Cruz +3
Public Policy Polling (D.) 757 v
37%
45%
Cruz +8

Our turnout model
There’s a big question on top of the standard margin of error in a poll: Who is going to vote? It’s a particularly challenging question this year, since special elections have shown Democrats voting in large numbers.
To estimate the likely electorate, we combine what people say about how likely they are to vote with information about how often they have voted in the past. In previous races, this approach has been more accurate than simply taking people at their word. But there are many other ways to do it.

Our poll under different turnout scenarios

Who will vote?
Est. turnout
Our poll result
The types of people who voted in 2014
4447k
Cruz +15
Our estimate
6236k
Cruz +12
People whose voting history suggests they will vote, regardless of what they say
6299k
Cruz +12
People who say they will vote, adjusted for past levels of truthfulness
6784k
Cruz +15
People who say they are almost certain to vote, and no one else
6882k
Cruz +9
The types of people who voted in 2016
7913k
Cruz +14
Every active registered voter
13158k
Cruz +18

In these scenarios, higher turnout tends to be better for Republicans.
Just because one candidate leads in all of these different turnout scenarios doesn’t mean much by itself. They don’t represent the full range of possible turnout scenarios, let alone the full range of possible election results.
The types of people we’ve reached so far
Even if we got turnout exactly right, the margin of error wouldn’t capture all of the error in a poll. The simplest version assumes we have a perfect random sample of the voting population. We do not.
People who respond to surveys are almost always too old, too white, too educated and too politically engaged to accurately represent everyone.

How successful we were in reaching different kinds of voters

18 to 29

1817

12
1 in 151
6%
9%
30 to 64

7158

130
1 in 55
65%
59%
65 and older

2364

58
1 in 41
29%
31%
Male

4883

98
1 in 50
49%
46%
Female

6459

102
1 in 63
51%
54%
White

6883

131
1 in 53
66%
63%
Nonwhite

3696

50
1 in 74
25%
31%
Cell

7133

125
1 in 57
63%

Landline

4209

75
1 in 56
38%


Pollsters compensate by giving more weight to respondents from under-represented groups.
Here, we’re weighting by age, primary vote, gender, likelihood of voting, race and region, mainly using data from voting records files compiled by L2, a nonpartisan voter file vendor.
But weighting works only if you weight by the right categories and you know what the composition of the electorate will be. In 2016, many pollsters didn’t weight by education and overestimated Hillary Clinton’s standing as a result.
Even after weighting, our poll does not have as many of some types of people as we would like.
Here are other common ways to weight a poll:

Our poll under different weighting schemes

Our poll result
Don’t weight by primary vote, like most public polls
Cruz +12
Don’t weight by education, like many polls in 2016
Cruz +12
Our estimate
Cruz +12
Weight using census data instead of voting records, like most public polls
Cruz +16

Just because one candidate leads in all of these different weighting scenarios doesn’t mean much by itself. They don’t represent the full range of possible weighting scenarios, let alone the full range of possible election results.
Undecided voters
We haven’t reached enough undecided voters to say much about them yet.

Issues and other questions
We’re asking voters which party they’d like to see control the Senate and who they’d like to vote for as governor.
We're also asking voters if they support N.F.L. players who kneel in protest during the national anthem, and about their views of players' right to kneel, more generally.

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president?

Approve
Disapp.
Don’t know
Voters n = 199
51%
43%
6%

Who would you like to see control the U.S. Senate?

Dem.
Rep.
Don't know
Voters n = 199
41%
53%
6%

If the general election for governor were held today, who would you vote for? (Poll question names candidates.)

Dem.
Rep.
Lib./Don't know
Voters n = 199
35%
56%
9%

Do you support or oppose the actions of N.F.L. players who kneel in protest during the national anthem?

support
oppose
Don’t know
Voters n = 199
37%
56%
8%

Do you support or oppose the right of N.F.L. players to kneel in protest during the national anthem?

support
oppose
Don’t know
Voters n = 199
49%
47%
4%

What different types of voters said
Voters nationwide are deeply divided along demographic lines. Our poll suggests divisions too. But don’t overinterpret these tables. Results among subgroups may not be representative or reliable. Be especially careful with groups with fewer than 100 respondents, shown here in stripes.

Gender

Dem.
Rep.
Und.
Female n = 102 / 53% of voters
49%
45%
6%
Male 97 / 47%
34%
64%
1%

Age

Dem.
Rep.
Und.
18 to 29 n = 11 / 6% of voters
14%
86%

30 to 44 42 / 22%
46%
43%
10%
45 to 64 87 / 42%
38%
58%
3%
65 and older 59 / 31%
49%
51%


Race

Dem.
Rep.
Und.
White n = 130 / 63% of voters
31%
68%
1%
Black 28 / 14%
75%
18%
7%
Hispanic 26 / 16%
46%
50%
4%
Asian 4 / 2%
60%

40%
Other 5 / 3%
47%
30%
23%

Race and education

Dem.
Rep.
Und.
Nonwhite n = 63 / 34% of voters
58%
33%
8%
White, college grad 68 / 29%
41%
58%

White, not college grad 62 / 34%
23%
76%
1%

Education

Dem.
Rep.
Und.
H.S. Grad. or Less n = 30 / 18% of voters
38%
62%

Some College Educ. 65 / 37%
39%
58%
3%
4-year College Grad. 68 / 29%
39%
55%
6%
Post-grad. 36 / 17%
58%
36%
6%

Region

Dem.
Rep.
Und.
Major City n = 34 / 20% of voters
64%
29%
6%
Major Suburbs 66 / 38%
38%
59%
4%
Minor City 29 / 12%
39%
53%
8%
Rio Grande/South 15 / 8%
54%
46%

Rural 55 / 22%
26%
73%
1%

Party

Dem.
Rep.
Und.
Democrat n = 53 / 29% of voters
94%
4%
2%
Republican 83 / 40%
7%
92%
1%
Independent 51 / 25%
40%
52%
6%
Another party 8 / 4%
21%
70%
9%

Primary vote

Dem.
Rep.
Und.
Democratic n = 48 / 25% of voters
90%
4%
5%
Republican 95 / 39%
11%
87%
2%
Other 56 / 36%
42%
54%
4%

Intention of voting

Dem.
Rep.
Und.
Almost certain n = 138 / 68% of voters
46%
52%
2%
Very likely 50 / 27%
36%
55%
8%
Somewhat likely 7 / 4%
25%
75%

Not very likely 1 / 0%

100%

Not at all likely 2 / 1%

100%


Other districts where we’ve completed polls
California 48 Orange County
Illinois 12 Downstate Illinois
Illinois 6 Chicago suburbs
Kentucky 6 Lexington area
Minnesota 3 Minneapolis suburbs
Minnesota 8 Iron Range
West Virginia 3 Coal Country
Virginia 7 Richmond suburbs
Texas 23 South Texas
Wisconsin 1 Southeastern Wisconsin
Colorado 6 Denver Suburbs
Maine 2 Upstate, Down East Maine
Kansas 2 Eastern Kansas
Florida 26 South Florida
New Mexico 2 Southern New Mexico
Texas 7 Houston and suburbs
California 25 Southern California
New Jersey 7 Suburban New Jersey
Iowa 1 Northeastern Iowa
California 49 Southern California
Texas 32 Suburban Dallas
Pennsylvania 7 The Lehigh Valley
Kansas 3 Eastern Kansas suburbs
California 45 Southern California
New Jersey 3 South, central New Jersey
Nebraska 2 Omaha area
Washington 8 Seattle suburbs and beyond
Michigan 8 Lansing, Detroit suburbs
Virginia 2 Coastal Virginia
Arizona 2 Southeastern Arizona
Iowa 3 Southwest Iowa
Ohio 1 Southwestern Ohio
Michigan 11 Detroit suburbs
Minnesota 2 Minneapolis suburbs, southern Minn.
Illinois 14 Chicago exurbs
North Carolina 9 Charlotte suburbs, southern N.C.
New York 1 Eastern Long Island
Texas 31 Central Texas, Round Rock
North Carolina 13 Piedmont Triad
Pennsylvania 16 Northwestern Pa.

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