AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new poll that the groups behind it said had much more focus on delving into the diversity of the Texas voting population presented a much tighter race for governor than other results showed recently.

The new LBJ School of Public Affairs and Univision poll put Gov. Greg Abbott ahead by four percentage points over challenger Beto O’Rourke (46%-42%), as the early voting period enters into its third day in Texas. The survey included 1,400 registered voters and was conducted during the week of Oct. 11-18 with a margin of error of 2.6%.

The results on this consequential race included breakdowns by voters’ ethnicities. Sergio García-Ríos, the director of polling and data for Univision Noticias and the associate director of research at the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the LBJ School, explained why that was important.

“We have a representative sample, all Texans across all racial groups. We wanted to have an oversample of two groups that we think are very important, particularly in Texas: Latinos and African Americans,” García-Ríos said. “We have a healthy oversample of these two groups, and I think sampling in a precise way, with academic and cultural competence, of these two groups within a healthy, robust sample gets us closer to what the electorate in Texas is really thinking.”

Among the Latino voters who responded to this poll, they favored O’Rourke over Abbott by 30 percentage points, with 58% saying they support the Democrat over 28% backing the Republican incumbent. Meanwhile, the poll showed O’Rourke even further ahead with Black voters and underwater with those who identified as Anglo.

According to the poll, 70% of the Black respondents said they planned to vote for O’Rourke versus the 13% who said they intend to cast their ballot for Abbott. Among the Anglo voters, though, Abbott polled 35 percentage points higher than O’Rourke (63%-28%).

The governor also did better among the men who responded to this October poll — 48% favor Abbott; 41% support O’Rourke. However, the poll showed a statistical tie between the top two gubernatorial candidates when it came to the female respondents (43% Abbott, 43% O’Rourke).

Most important issues for president & Congress to address

Much like other recent polls, the survey conducted by the LBJ School and Univision found out which issues Texas voters said President Joe Biden and Congress should address now. Half the respondents cited the cost of living and inflation as their top concerns. That was followed by border security (20%) and then crime and border security (19%).

Another tier of issues each captured 17% of Texas voters’ attention, including the cost of health care, wages/jobs, mass shootings and gun safety policy and immigration. The poll showed 15% listed abortion as their most important issue.

When it came to Latino respondents, 48% cited the cost of living and inflation as their top concern followed by mass shootings and gun safety policy (24%) and wages/jobs (21%).

“Really, politicians, as they head to legislation, need to understand that different communities have different needs, and that there isn’t one single thing that will satisfy everyone and it’s going to be challenging,” García-Ríos said, “but that’s the reality of our state. It is diverse, and those needs are also diverse.”

Attitudes on Biden student loan forgiveness

The plan President Biden introduced to forgive some federal student loan debt is popular among Texas voters, according to this poll. Pollsters asked respondents if they supported or opposed the federal government canceling up to $20,000 of student debt for individuals who earn less than $125,000 or couples who earn less than $250,000. The results showed 61% favored the student debt forgiveness, while 39% opposed it.

Last week a federal appeals court issued an administrative stay temporarily blocking Biden’s plan to cancel billions of dollars in federal student loans, throwing the program into limbo just days after people began applying for loan forgiveness. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay while it considers a motion from six Republican-led states to block the program. The stay ordered the Biden administration not to act on the program while it considers the appeal.

Feelings about banning AR-15 style guns

More than a majority of Texas voters polled also supported the idea of a enacting a nationwide ban on AR-15 style rifles. According to these results, 61% said they’d like to see the country enact such a ban, while 39% opposed it.