Tea Party, take heart: Cruz is in dead heat with Democrats

By Paul Hampton

Twitter: @jpaulhampton

The latest Quinnipiac University poll has some good news for Tea Partiers -- Sen. Ted Cruz, their favorite son, is tied or slightly ahead of the Democratic front-runners in nationwide polls.

Bear in mind that the United States doesn't pick its president by a nationwide popular vote but by electoral votes assigned to states based on their representation in Congress. Mississippi has six such votes, for example, and 270 are needed to win.

Still the GOP establishment can't be happy with its top two candidates -- Cruz and Donald Trump -- running as outsiders. Cruz has already been in Mississippi with arch-conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel and Trump is coming a week from Saturday. Half of those polled said they'd be embarrassed if Trump won.

Cruz is tied with Hillary Clinton at 44 percent. He leads Sen. Bernie Sanders 44-43 percent.

Sanders is far ahead of Trump, 51-38 percent, and Clinton leads Trump 47-40 among all voters and leads Sanders 61-30 percent among Democrats.

See the entire poll here.