Republicans start out with a strong advantage in the Texas Senate race to replace the retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison. In 8 match ups pitting four different Republicans against two Democrats, the GOP candidate leads by at least an 8 point margin in every one.
David Dewhurst is the best known candidate at this point and, not coincidentally, also the strongest. 60% of voters have an opinion about him with no one else known to more than 37% of the electorate. Dewhurst leads Paul Sadler by 18 points at 49-31 and Sean Hubbard by 17 at 48-31.
The most unpopular candidate is Craig James. His net favorability is -15 with only 9% of voters holding a positive opinion of him to 24% with a negative one. The only match up we tested where the Republican candidate did not have a double digit lead was the one between James and Hubbard, on which James has only a 40-32 advantage. James leads Sadler 42-32. It looks like the Democrats' best hope at winning this seat is for the Republicans to somehow end up nominating James.
Tom Leppert narrowly edges out Ted Cruz as the second strongest potential GOP candidate for the general election. He leads Hubbard 43-32 and Sadler 44-31. Cruz's advantages are 39-29 over Hubbard and 41-31 over Sadler.
None of the Democratic candidates have much name recognition so the race could get closer, but for now the GOP looks to have a strong advantage.
Full results here