Post Date: September 2018
The Public Opinion Context in Texas of the Kavanaugh Confirmation, Sexual Assault Charges Against Him, and Ted Cruz’s Role in the Coming Senate Hearings
Amidst talk (though uneven evidence) of Ted Cruz’s possible vulnerability among women in the suburbs and of a lack of enthusiasm for Cruz overall, as well as comparatively more demonstrable gender differences in attitudes related to sexual harassment and assault, the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh pose political hazards for Ted Cruz should there be new hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the present atmosphere of partisan polarization on both Kavanaugh’s nomination and gender politics, Cruz must walk a narrow and somewhat unfamiliar path – one that requires moderation of his usual temperament.
We revisit key aspects of the relevant landscape of attitudes in Texas below. Multiple results on relevant subjects from University of Texas/Texas Tribune polling illustrate just how narrow this path is in the Texas electorate, who will start early voting in about a month. (This post was slightly revised 20 September 2018 at 3:10 PM to reflect new developments, including data on Texans' views of the FBI.)
Even under extremely rosy circumstances, O'Rourke needs BOTH a momentous shift in voter sentiment, AND a momentous shift in Democratic turnout: possible, but still not probable.
Over the last week and a half, the Ted Cruz campaign and its allies have stepped up their negative attacks against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke (though with a bit of a stumble out of the blocks). The Cruz campaign’s blows against Beto have gotten both tougher and more voluminous as the campaign sees close public (and perhaps internal?) poll numbers and, within that polling, a large share of Republican voters seemingly unaware of the threat to their party’s hegemony skateboarding their way.