AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new poll over the weekend found that even with the approaching March primary election, more than a third of Texas voters who plan to vote in the Democratic primary election still say they are undecided on who the Democratic nominee should be to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Texas.
This is the race for the Senate seat currently held by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) who has held that role since 2002.
According to a Nexstar Media Texas TV Stations/Emerson College poll, of those Texans surveyed, 39.1% said they are undecided on who they would vote for in the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination. Of the respondents who knew which candidate they want to back during the primary, MJ Hegar received the most support at 16.3%, Royce West received 10.8%, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez received 8.3%, Chris Bell received 5.9%, Michael Cooper received 4.6%, Annie Garcia received 4.4% Sema Hernandez received 3.7%, Amanda Edwards received 3.7%, D.R. Hunter received 1%, Adrian Ocegueda received 1%, Victor Harris received 0.9%, and Jack Daniel Foster Jr. received 0.4%.
These results offer insight into Texas Democratic primary after early voting in Texas ended Friday evening and before Super Tuesday when Texas will carry out its primary elections.
The respondents in this poll are 450 Texans across the state who were surveyed between Saturday and Sunday. Emerson College said the margin of error is plus or minus 4.6%. The poll surveyed Texans about presidential and senatorial candidates as well as other public policy issues. Of those surveyed, 73.9% identified as Democrats, 3.3% identified as Republicans and 22.8% identified as Independent/other.
“It looks like that Senate race is really fluid with a lot of horses in the field,” said Spencer Kimball, an Assistant Professor at Emerson College who helped carry out this poll. From these numbers, Kimball said it appears MJ Hegar has a slight lead over other candidates, but with so many voters still undecided, the final results may vary.
Kimball suggested these poll numbers mean it will matter for campaign staff to continue doing outreach up until the very last minute during this Senate race.
“The problem when you have presidential elections on the same time as state races and federal races is that voters can only focus in on so many different topics, issues and candidates,” he said. “And it looks like in that [Texas] Senate race, it will be a late break and maybe a surprise second-place finish for somebody because this field is so compacted.”
He also noted that Royce West and Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez appear to be “neck and neck” in this race.
Kimball pointed out that in these results, if a candidate is up by two or three points, that falls well within the poll’s margin of error, so the outcome could unfold either way.
About this poll
Emerson College carried out this poll among primary voters all over the state of Texas, taking the 36 congressional districts in the state and dividing them up into five regions. This poll was carried out both over the phone and online.
Because these results have a margin of error of +/- 4.6%, Kimball notes, “keep in mind that there’s a margin of error and that come election night, those scores are going to fluctuate somewhere around that 4.6% for each candidate.”
Of those surveyed, 56.2% identified as women and 43.8% identified as men. Those surveyed all seem to be likely participants in the primary election, with 74.7% saying they are “very likely” to vote in the Democratic Primary and 25.3% saying they voted early or absentee.
Forty-three-point-two percent of the people surveyed identify as White or Caucasian, 30.6% identify as Hispanic or Latino, 19.2% identify as African American, 3% identify as Asian, and 3.9% identify as “other.” When it comes to the ages of the respondents, 20.2% were between the ages of 18 and 29, 31.8% were between 30 and 49, 28.6% were between 50 and 64 and 19.4% were 65 years old or older.
Of those surveyed 13% said the highest level of education they achieved was high school or less and 45.4% of those surveyed said their annual household income is less than $50,000 per year.
In addition to their views on the Democratic presidential primary race, respondents were also asked about the Texas Senate race, marijuana policy, coronavirus, border security and hydraulic fracturing.
Poll collaborations with Emerson College and Nexstar have also been carried out this year in Nevada, South Carolina, and California.
If you have not voted yet in Texas, go to this website for more information about what is on the ballot and where local polling places are.