Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is running 5 points ahead Democrat Barack Obama in Texas, and first-term Sen. John Cornyn is in a nail-biter with Democratic state Rep. Rick Noriega, a new polls shows.
The survey of likely voters by the non-partisan Texas Lyceum, a statewide leadership group and think tank, could be a bit skewed in favor of the Democrats, pollster Daron Shaw of the University of Texas at Austin says, because he made an extra effort to make sure the random sample was reflective of the state's demographics.
The between-the-lines reading is that subgroups that lean Republican tend to vote in higher numbers than subgroups that lean toward the Democrats, which might explain why the GOP has run the table in every statewide election since 1996.
According to the raw numbers, McCain (top photo) was favored by 43 percent of the respondents while Obama was backed by 38 percent in the presidential race. A hefty chunk, 17 percent, had yet to settle on a preference while Libertarian Bob Barr drew 1 percent as did independent Ralph Nader.
Other polls in the Senate race have been all over the map with Cornyn holding either tiny leads or really big leads. The incumbent is far better financed than the challenger, and far more familiar to voters. He's been elected twice to the Texas Supreme Court, once as attorney general, and once as U.S. senator. Noriega, a five-term Houston-area lawmaker, is in his first statewide contest.