Cruz Faces Competitive U.S. Senate November Election

A new Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media poll in Texas finds 29% of Democratic Primary voters plan to support Representative Colin Allred to face Republican Senator Ted Cruz this November, while 7% support State Senator Roland Gutierrez, and 6% support Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez. A plurality of voters (37%) are undecided ahead of the March primary. 

“Significant portions of several key constituent groups are undecided in the Democratic Senate Primary, including Hispanic Democratic voters, Gen Z and Millennial voters, and voters without a college degree,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, noted. “To avoid a runoff, Allred needs to make inroads with these voters, like he has with Democrats in their 60s and those with postgraduate degrees, 52% of whom respectively support him.”

Hypothetical general election matchups between Allred and Cruz, along with Gutierrez and Cruz are in statistical ties. In a matchup between Cruz and Allred, 42% support Cruz, 40% Allred, 8% someone else and 11% are undecided. Between Cruz and Gutierrez, 41% support Cruz, 40% Gutierrez, 8% someone else, and 11% are undecided. 

“Hispanic voters break for Allred over Cruz by 24 points, 50% to 26%, whereas white voters break for Cruz by 23 points, 55% to 32%,” Kimball noted. 

  • Allred leads Cruz among voters under 30 by 16 points, 41% to 25%, by 11 points among voters in their 30s, 41% to 30%, and by seven points among voters in their 40s, 43% to 36%. Cruz leads among voters in their 50s by nine points, 46% to 37%, by 13 points for those in their 60s, 54% to 41% and those over 70, 53% to 40%. 
  • Men break for Cruz 50% to 37%, whereas women break for Allred, 43% to 36%. 

Looking at the presidential nominating contests, Donald Trump leads the Texas Republican Primary with 69% support, 11% support Haley, and 7% DeSantis. Nine percent are undecided.

In the Democratic Presidential Primary, 72% of voters support Biden as the nominee, 6% Marianne Williamson, and 5% Dean Phillips. Seventeen percent are undecided. 

In a potential 2024 matchup between President Biden and former President Trump, 49% support Trump, 41% Biden, and 10% are undecided. With third-party candidates, Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, and Jill Stein added to the hypothetical ballot, 46% support Trump, 36% Biden, 5% Kennedy Jr., and 1% support West and Stein respectively. The share of undecided voters increases to 12%. 

Immigration/ and border security isare the top issue for Texas voters, at 29%, followed by the economy at 22%, healthcare at 12%, education at 9%, abortion access at 9%, “threats to democracy” at 7%, and crime at 6%. 


The Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media Texas poll was conducted January 13-15, 2024. The sample consisted of 1,315 registered voters, with a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error, of +/- 2.6 percentage points. The Democratic Senate Primary consisted of 460 Democratic Primary voters, with a credibility interval of +/- 4.5 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, party, race, and education based on U.S. Census parameters, and Texas voter registration and voter turnout data by regions (TX SOS). Data was collected by contacting a list of landlines and emails provided by Aristotle via Interactive Voice Response (IVR), along with an online panel of voters provided by Alchemer. 

It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics, such as gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity, carry with them higher credibility intervals, as the sample size is reduced. Survey results should be understood within the poll’s range of scores, and know that with a confidence interval of 95% a poll will fall outside the range of scores 1 in 20 times.

This survey was conducted by Emerson College Polling and sponsored by Nexstar Media. All questions asked in this survey with exact wording, along with full results and cross tabulations can be found under “Full Results.”