POLITICS
02/18/2014 05:50 pm ET | Updated Feb 18, 2014

Steve Stockman Gains On John Cornyn In Latest GOP Primary Poll

AP

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) has gained ground in his bid to unseat Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), according to a Human Events/Gravis Marketing poll released Sunday.

According to the survey, 43 percent of likely Republican primary voters favor Cornyn, while 28 percent favor Stockman. Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they were unsure. The poll’s margin of error is 3.6 percent.

The survey of 729 likely Republican voters -- conducted through a mix of automated and live interviews -- shows a significant move toward Stockman among GOP primary voters compared with the only other poll conducted so far in the race. A Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research poll conducted immediately after Stockman’s entry into the race in December found that only 6 percent of respondents favored Stockman. Cornyn’s support has remained essentially unchanged since that poll, in which he drew support from 50 percent of respondents.

A failure by any of the primary candidates to reach 50 percent of the vote during the March 4 primary would trigger a runoff between the primary’s two top finishers.

The horserace numbers are not the only findings in the Human Events/Gravis poll that Cornyn should find troubling. Only 49 percent of respondents voiced approval of Cornyn, compared to 27 percent who disapprove and 24 percent who are unsure. Meanwhile, 28 percent of respondents approve of Stockman and 18 percent disapprove. A whopping 55 percent of respondents were unsure of their opinions of Stockman, indicating that the challenger has considerable room for growth.

The potential for a Stockman surge appears to linger despite over a month of negative developments within his campaign. These include the loss of an endorsement from a conservative PAC that had endorsed him in 2012, conflicting statements about his record and even a period in which the congressman appeared to have gone missing. (He later claimed to have been abroad as part of a congressional delegation.)

Stockman’s campaign strategy has relied heavily on anti-establishment fervor, a strategy well-suited to taking on Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican. This anti-Washington sentiment was on full display during President Barack Obama’s January State of the Union address, during which Stockman famously stormed out midway through.

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