IRVING, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A new poll on the U.S. Senate race in Texas by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribute shows Republican Sen. Ted Cruz ahead of Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke by six points, 51 percent to 45 percent.
The poll surveyed 927 likely voters.
Rep. O’Rourke was in North Texas Friday for get out the vote rallies.
O’Rourke’s campaign said they’re betting on young people and new voters, which experts say is a gamble because historically, they don’t show up for the midterm elections.
During the first of his six get out the vote rallies in North Texas Friday, O’Rourke shrugged-off sharp criticism by President Donald Trump, who in Houston Monday called him a lightweight and an open borders left-winger.
“I think the best response is to stay focused on what we set out to do in the first place,” O’Rourke said.
And what O’Rourke has set out to do is focus his campaign for U.S. Senate on attracting young voters, and those who’ve never voted before.
“We just met somebody who’s in her 60’s and just voted for the first time in her life,” O’Rourke told the crowd.
“I think it’s a very defining moment for us to get out and vote,” said O’Rourke supporter Angela Gonzalez.
Gonzalez and her husband Jesus were among those waiting in line to meet O’Rourke.
“When it comes to immigration reform, and jobs, and the way that he’s been going, I feel really strongly about him, and I’m 37,” said Jesus Gonzalez. “This is my first time voting. I haven’t really felt the passion to vote, and now I do. Beto O’Rourke brought that out in me.”
O’Rourke has not campaigned toward the middle and has embraced progressive policy positions such as medicare for all, gun restrictions, and he’s railed against an expanded border wall and the tax cuts.
He said he has ignored conventional wisdom, which says it’s risky to rely on those who don’t typically don’t vote in the mid-terms.
“Young people, students, immigrants, have been counted out,” said O’Rourke. “But now, they’re standing up to be counted in this election.” Butt to: 24:15-21 “Young people historically haven’t voted. Young people are voting in record numbers now.”
He said he’s giving it all he’s got as he drove to his next rally.
“We’re not wasting a second sleeping,” said O’Rourke.