Q-poll: O'Rourke favorability underwater in Texas, but earns the sweet, sweet Avenatti endorsement

Remember when Democrats posed Beto O’Rourke as a likable alternative to Ted Cruz? Good times, good times. The latest iteration of Quinnipiac polling in Texas shows Cruz with a +8 favorability rating, while the Democratic challenger has fallen to a -2. Even though O’Rourke extended the gender gap a little over the past month, Cruz still has 54% of likely voters, and O’Rourke … doesn’t:

The gender gap widens a little, but U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger in the Texas Senate race, gains no ground as Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz holds a 54 – 45 percent likely voter lead, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today.

Men back Sen. Cruz 62 – 37 percent as women tip to O’Rourke 52 – 46 percent.

This compares to a 54 – 45 percent Cruz likely voter lead in a September 18 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll, with men backing Cruz 57 – 42 percent and women divided, going 50 percent for Cruz and 48 percent for O’Rourke. …

Cruz has a 52 – 44 percent favorability rating. O’Rourke has a divided 45 – 47 percent favorability rating.

“Is the Beto bubble bursting,” Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown asks, “or just hissing away with a slow leak?” It’s not clear that it’s much of a leak at all, actually. RealClearPolitics’ aggregation of Texas polling shows that O’Rourke has never led in any poll, although on occasion he’s come close; an Emerson poll in August had him within a point at 39/38. That turned out to be an outlier, however. O’Rourke hasn’t gotten above 45% in any poll so far, and his average support level in RCP is 43.7%.

The trend appears more to be that Cruz is gaining strength rather than Beto losing it. Cruz averages 50.3% in the recent aggregation with an average polling lead of 6.6%. That may not be terribly impressive for a Republican incumbent in deep-red Texas, but it’s still looking pretty solid. More surprising, perhaps, is his better-than-average favorability just one cycle after his failed presidential bid in which a lack of likability played a strong part.

O’Rourke’s come a long way on that score to finish upside-down. He started in May’s Q-poll with a 30-19 favorable rating (Cruz was a +11 at that time too), went to 33-23 in August but slid to 43/42 last month. The DWI and especially O’Rourke’s effort to downplay his attempt to evade arrest might have done some real damage. Either that, or O’Rourke simply doesn’t play as well as his promoters thought he would.

Something tells me this won’t help Beto out in Texas:

Maybe Avenatti should have endorsed Cruz …

Also, Greg Abbott is crushing Lupe Valdez in the gubernatorial race by 20 points, 58/38. Abbott is getting 46% of the Hispanic vote in the race. The only knock on Cruz at this point might be the difference between Abbott’s support and his own, and even that isn’t much of a difference — just four percentage points now. Cruz goes into the final stretch looking strong and getting stronger.