Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Leads Beto O’Rourke in Midterm Matchup

abbott o'rourke
Lynda M. Gonzalez, Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is leading Democrat gubernatorial candidate Robert Francis O’Rourke (D) in their upcoming race, a UT/Texas Politics Project survey released this week found.

The survey showed the Republican governor leading O’Rourke by five percentage points, or 45 percent to the Democrat’s 40 percent. This is significant, as Abbott’s lead is outside of the survey’s +/- 2.89 percent margin of error:

No other candidate comes close, but eight percent admitted they “haven’t thought about it enough to have an opinion.” 

While O’Rourke enjoys a 19-point advantage over Abbott with urban voters and 17-point advantage among moderates, Abbott boasts an 18-point lead among independent voters — 40 percent to O’Rourke’s 22 percent. And in general, independents tend to view the Republican governor more favorably than O’Rourke:

Independents as a group are more favorably disposed toward Abbott than O’Rourke, though both are in net-negative territory, with intensity, such as it exists, expressed on the unfavorable end of the spectrum: Abbott is judged favorably by 37% of independents and unfavorably by 42% (27% very unfavorable). O’Rourke fares worse — 23% favorable, 63% unfavorable (47% very unfavorable). If one possible route to reducing Abbott’s baseline partisan advantage is to add a substantial share of independents voters to his Democratic base, O’Rourke faces significant obstacles as summer turns to fall.

The survey also found that a majority of Texas voters, 52 percent, agree with the Abbott administration’s decision to bus migrants to blue cities across the country. As immigration issues top the list of concerns — 26 percent identify it as the “most important issue” to their vote in the 2022 election — this is significant, as O’Rourke has taken a different approach, devoting his campaign trail focus to gun control and abortion.

Recently, O’Rourke upped his divisive rhetoric, accusing Abbott of “killing the women among us right now.” He also made waves last month after refusing to express support for any limits on abortion — even partial-birth. Rather, when confronted with the question, the Democrat said he trusts “women and their doctors” to make that determination. That position puts him out of alignment with the majority of Americans, most of whom believe there should be limits on abortion:

The Texas survey was taken August 28 to September 6, 2022, among 1,200 self-identified registered voters. 

Wednesday’s RealClearPolitics average showed Abbott leading O’Rourke by an average of 7.2 percent. 


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