New polling from Texas demonstrates that former Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke is polling evenly with current Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — meaning that the results of the gubernatorial race may be closer than originally predicted.
O’Rourke, who also ran for president in 2020, has not yet formally entered the governor’s race. But it’s widely speculated he will throw his hat into the ringAbbott, who is halfway through his second term, could be ousted sometime in the near future.
A survey conducted by the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation found that, among voters who took part in the 2020 election, 44 percent would vote for Abbott in 2022 while 43 percent would vote for O’Rourke. Among registered voters overall, the numbers are similar: 43 percent prefer Abbott, while 42 percent back O’Rourke.
These numbers are statistically tied between the candidates because the poll has an error margin of 2.6 percentage points.
O’Rourke’s numbers are buoyed by support he is receiving from Latino residents, the poll said. Among Latino voters, O’Rourke has an 18-point lead over Abbott.
Actor Matthew McConaughey has also signaled that he’s thinking about running for governor of Texas next year. However, McConaughey didn’t do well in polling, garnering just 9 percent of voters in the poll who said they voted in 2020, compared to Abbott, who received 41 percent support, and O’Rourke, who got 39 percent, when all three are polled against each other.
Mark Jones, a Rice University professor and head of the Baker Institute for Public Policy, said that the numbers show that McConaughey is not a serious contender in this race.
“Matthew McConaughey is a very popular actor, but his popularity is not turning into support at the ballot box in this survey,” Jones said.
Sometimes, polling so close can be deceiving. In the summer of 2018, when O’Rourke was running for senator in Texas against current Sen. Ted Cruz (R), an Emerson College poll found that the two were in a statistical tieCruz won the race. by 2.6 percentage points.
Still, O’Rourke’s numbers are likely causing Abbott’s campaign team to panic somewhat, especially considering how they’ve shifted in the past few months alone. In July, O’Rourke was losing to Abbott by 12 points in a hypothetical matchup. In September, a poll showed that the gap was narrowing with Abbott leading by only five points.
The polling numbers from this recent survey seem to align with the idea that Texas is no longer the solidly “red” state that it once was. Indeed, in last year’s presidential race, former President Donald Trump, a Republican, only defeated President Joe Biden by a margin of less than six points — the smallest gap between a Republican and Democratic president in the state since 1996. Other polls indicate that Texans are warming to progressive ideas. This includes on the climate crisis. Data for Progress polls found that Texans are warming to progressive ideas. nearly 3 in 5 voters (59 percent) backed the idea of transitioning away from fossil fuelsFor more sustainable options.