AUSTIN (Nexstar) — With election day in the Texas primaries less than a week away, new polling shows the likelihood of a runoff in the race for Attorney General.
A Your Local Election Headquarters/The Hill/Emerson College Polling poll taken this week shows incumbent Ken Paxton leading the Republican primary field. Paxton’s 43% support in the poll is below the 50% + 1 needed to avoid a runoff.
Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush leads the field of challengers with 20%, while Congressman Louie Gohmert and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman come in with 12% support in the poll. The poll shows 14% undecided (due to rounding, the total exceeds 100%).
When undecided voters were asked who they would lean toward voting for, Paxton gained ground, clearing 51% support. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.2%
Paxton’s Republican opponents have cited an outstanding indictment against him as well as an ongoing FBI investigation into allegations of abuse of office. But those legal issues don’t seem to matter to most primary voters.
In the poll, 41% of Republican primary voters said Paxton’s legal issues have no impact on their likelihood of voting for him, while 23% said the accusations actually made them more likely to vote for him. A quarter of voters said the legal issues make them less-likely to vote for Paxton.
Paxton has emphasized that he is the candidate in the race endorsed by Donald Trump. The poll shows that’s likely a significant factor in the primary.
According to the poll, nearly half of Republican primary voters say Donald Trump’s endorsement makes them more likely to vote for a candidate. Just 16% said it would make them less likely to support a candidate.
“Trump’s endorsement is still having a powerful sway in this election,” explained Camille Mumford, director of communications for Emerson College. “We’re seeing that a plurality of folks are more likely to support a candidate if Trump is endorsing them, especially among those who are moving over of the undecided voters,” Mumford added.
The Emerson College/The Hill Texas poll was conducted February 21-22, 2022. The Republican primary sample consisted of very likely voters, n=522, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 4.2 percentage points. The Democratic primary sample consisted of very likely voters, n=388, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 4.9 percentage points. The general election sample consisted of somewhat likely voters in Texas, n=1,000 with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race, and region based on 2020 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample of SMS-to-web, an online panel provided by Amazon MTurk, e-mail using an opt-in probability sample, and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines.