Ted Cruz leads Beto O'Rourke by 4 points in August NBC News-Marist Poll

Another poll released Wednesday shows an incredibly tight race for the U.S. Senate in Texas between GOP incumbent Ted Cruz and upstart challenger Beto O’Rourke.

The new NBC News-Marist Poll shows Cruz with just a four-point lead over his Democratic rival, 49-45. The poll had six percent of registered voters still undecided, with a 3.8 percent margin of error.

Cruz’s favorable-unfavorable ratings are perhaps one reason why the race is so close. The poll shows Cruz’s favorability among registered voters at 49 percent and unfavorable impression at 41. It’s unusual to see an incumbent below 50 percent.

O’Rourke, a Democratic congressman from El Paso, has a 41 percent favorable rating and a 23 percent unfavorability. 36 percent of registered voters said they were unsure or hadn’t heard enough about him to have an opinion.

The Marist Poll is the latest in a series of recent surveys that indicate Cruz is in for a major battle, with less than 100 days to the midterm election in November.

A Texas Lyceum poll in early August found Cruz ahead by just two points over his Democratic opponent – 41 for Cruz and 39 for O’Rourke with 19 percent still undecided.

Another early August poll from Quinnipiac University also showed a single-digit race: Cruz 49 and O’Rourke 43. The six-point lead for Cruz in the Quinnipiac poll was down from the 11-point lead Cruz had in the same poll in May.

O’Rourke’s campaign has generated enthusiasm among Texas Democrats, who have helped him fundraise more than $14 million. Cruz has about $10 million on hand. O’Rourke has visited all 254 counties in Texas and is in the middle of a statewide barnstorming tour during the August congressional recess.

Cruz still remains the favorite in the race, as Texas has not elected a Democratic candidate to a statewide office in more than two decades.

The Marist Poll surveyed 970 adults from Aug. 12-16 via landline and mobile telephones.

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