Texas Poll: Gov. Greg Abbott Leads Democrat Beto O’Rourke by Double Digits

Texas Gov Greg Abbott shows off Senate Bill 1, also known as the election integrity bill, after he signed it into law in Tyler, Texas, Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021. The sweeping bill signed Tuesday by the two-term Republican governor further tightens Texas' strict voting laws. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP Photo/LM Otero

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is tromping potential Democrat gubernatorial challenger Beto O’Rourke (D) by double digits in a hypothetical matchup in the Lone Star State, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found.

The survey found Abbott leading failed presidential candidate O’Rourke 52 percent to 37 percent. Abbot has the overwhelming support of Republican voters–90 percent. According to the survey, independents support Abbott 47 to 37 percent.

A majority, 54 percent of voters overall, say O’Rourke is “too liberal,” compared to 41 percent of voters who believe Abbott is “too conservative.” 

Abbott also has a higher favorability rating, 52 percent to O’Rourke’s 36 percent. Voters appear to give higher marks to Abbott’s personal traits, as a majority say Abbott is honest, cares about “average Texans,” and has “good leadership skills.” Meanwhile, 45 percent say that O’Rourke is “not honest,” 45 percent say he cares about average Texans (compared to 44 percent who say he does not), and 49 percent say he “does not have good leadership skills.” 

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks during a campaign stop in Addison, Texas, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks during a campaign stop in Addison, Texas, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.

Most voters say they believe Abbott has a better grip on the issues as well. Asked which of the two would handle key issues better, more said Abbott would. 

Per the poll: 

  • the economy: 60 percent say Abbott, while 32 percent say O’Rourke;
  • gun policy: 60 percent say Abbott, while 33 percent say O’Rourke;
  • the situation at the Mexican border: 58 percent say Abbott, while 35 percent say O’Rourke;
  • election laws: 55 percent say Abbott, while 40 percent say O’Rourke;
  • the response to the coronavirus: 54 percent say Abbott, while 39 percent say O’Rourke;
  • abortion: 49 percent say Abbott, while 41 percent say O’Rourke.

Overall, the Texas-Mexico border tops the list of important issues for Texas voters, garnering 33 percent of votes for the most urgent problem. Notably, during his presidential bid, O’Rourke told a crowd in El Paso, Texas, that “walls do not save lives, walls end lives.”

The poll, taken among 1,224 registered voters from December 2-6, 2021, has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent. 

O’Rourke formally announced his gubernatorial bid in November and quickly capitalized on one of his famed quotes from the last presidential election, when he said, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” During a November appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, O’Rourke said he still planned to take away “weapons of war.”

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