AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new poll released Wednesday morning shows those who definitely plan to vote in the November election favor giving Texas Gov. Greg Abbott another term over supporting challenger Beto O’Rourke.
According to results from the latest Marist Poll about the Texas governor’s race, Abbott has an eight percentage point advantage over O’Rourke among likely voters (52%-44%).
When the poll took into account only the registered voters who responded, though, Abbott’s lead over O’Rourke narrows a bit to four percentage points (49%-45%).
Pollsters noted the latter results came from a question asking who undecided voters are leaning toward if the election happened today.
In a statement about the poll results, Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said, “Governor Abbott is advantaged by the fact that Republicans outnumber Democrats in the state, and more Republicans than Democrats definitely plan to vote. In order to pull off an upset, O’Rourke needs to bank on the greater enthusiasm of his supporters translating into a greater turnout among younger, independent, urban, and suburban voters.”
A poll released last month from Emerson College matched these latest findings, which also showed Abbott ahead by eight percentage points at that time.
The top two candidates for governor are each suffering from a lack of popularity among Texas voters, though, as the election approaches in less than 30 days. The new Marist Poll found that both Abbott and O’Rourke suffer from higher unfavorable ratings. The results showed that 46% of respondents had an unfavorable opinion of Abbott, while 43% held a favorable view of the Republican incumbent. Regarding O’Rourke, 44% held an unfavorable view of the Democrat compared to his favorability rating of 39%.
This is the first poll released since KXAN and the Nexstar Media Group hosted what may be the only Texas governor’s debate before the election. Pollsters surveyed 1,226 Texans — 1,058 of those listed as registered voters — from the period between Oct. 3 and Oct. 6. They estimated the margin of error in the main results at 4.1 percentage points.
Both gubernatorial candidates released their fundraising figures Tuesday for the latest financial reporting period. According to his campaign, O’Rourke brought in nearly $25.2 million between July 1 and Sept. 29. That haul came from nearly 475,000 donations, with an average donation amount of $53.
Meanwhile, the Abbott campaign said it brought in almost $25 million during the same timeframe. In a news release Tuesday, his campaign reported approximately 45,000 contributions, with 81% of them based in Texas.
What’s the top voting issue?
The poll shed new light on the issues that are top of mind for Texas voters right now. The results found that 28% of Texans view inflation as the most important issue they’re thinking about ahead of this November’s elections. That’s followed by preserving democracy (21%), abortion (16%), immigration (13%), health care (10%) and crime (9%).
When the results are divided along party lines, Republicans told pollsters they consider inflation and immigration as the top election issues, while Democrats cited preserving democracy and abortion as their main priorities.
Views on President Biden
Democratic candidates running in Texas may have to contend with President Joe Biden’s unpopularity in the state. The Marist pollsters found that 53% of Texans disapprove of how he’s performing in office, while 39% approve of the work his administration is doing.