Statewide poll results published today by Houston Public Media and University of Houston Hobby Center for Public Policy show that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has a 14-point lead over Donald Trump among registered Texas Republican voters who are likely to vote on Super Tuesday. Although Cruz is ahead in his home state, the poll indicates his lead is not enough to ensure the 50 percent vote margin he needs to capture all 155 Texas GOP delegates from Trump. With 19 percent of poll respondents still undecided, Cruz's performance during Thursday night's Republican Presidential Debate looms large since it is his last opportunity to sway Texas voters before the Super Tuesday primaries on March 1.
“Winning isn’t the game; it’s about the number of delegates,” said Richard Murray, University of Houston professor and co-director of the poll. “The Houston debate is a high stakes contest, especially for Cruz, who needs to win a large majority of delegates in his home state.”
What will voters be listening for during the presidential debate? Poll results show that Republican primary voters in Texas value honesty and trustworthiness (34.9 percent) and "someone who shares my values" (22.9 percent) far more than electability (13 percent) and experience (10.4 percent).
Anger at the way the federal government works is also a clear sentiment expressed in the poll by 77 percent of respondents. Even more revealing is that, among those Republicans surveyed, the blame for what's wrong was not placed solely on the opposing party. Among poll respondents, 47.9 percent blamed both parties while 45.2 percent pointed to President Obama and the Democrats.
"Houston Public Media is working every day to keep voters informed of election developments,” said Lisa Trapani Shumate, associate vice president and general manager of Houston Public Media. “We are proud to partner with the experts at the University of Houston Hobby Center for Public Policy to provide this insightful data on the eve of the Republican debate.”
Poll results are based on 415 telephone interviews conducted randomly among statewide Republican registered voters who are likely to vote in the primary election. The 25-question poll, conducted Feb. 12-22, was developed and directed by political policy experts and co-directors Murray and Robert M. Stein, research associate at the Hobby Center for Public Policy. Two samples of eligible voters were used. The first sample included one group of registered voters who voted in one of three elections including the 2008 or 2012 Republican primary election or the 2015 general election. The second sample included all other registered voters.
Complete poll results and Texas primary news stories are available at houstonpublicmedia.org/election2016. Follow the conversation on Twitter using #TXDecide.