Though Texas Gov. Greg Abbott remains ahead of his Democratic gubernatorial challenger, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the margin between the two candidates narrowed to 6 points last month, according to a poll conducted by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
The poll found that 45 percent of Texas registered voters surveyed would vote for Abbott if the election were held that day, compared to 39 percent who would vote for O’Rourke. Broken down by party, the candidates are the overwhelming favorite within their respective party. Eighty-seven percent of Democrats polled said they would vote for O’Rourke if the election were held that day, while 84 percent of Republicans said they would back Abbott. Meanwhile, 33 percent of independents said they would back Abbott compared to 22 percent who would vote for O’Rourke. The gap is smaller than when Republican George W. Bush ousted Democrat Ann Richards in 1994 with a 7.6-point win. At the time, Abbott’s unfavorability ratings were the highest they’ve ever been at 44%.
The University of Texas-Texas Politics Project Poll was conducted between June 16 and June 24, with 1,200 Texas registered voters surveyed. Data was collected weeks after the deadliest school shooting in state history and before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion. Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned and Texas is poised to completely outlaw abortion access, it will likely be a pivotal topic in the upcoming months.
Despite the ratings, Abbott carries a massive financial advantage in the race. His campaign recently announced nearly $20 million in early ad buys for the general election, include $2.75 million for Hispanic media, $8.8 million separately for TV and $8.15 million for digital platforms.
Election day is Tuesday, November 8. Tuesday, October 11 is the last day to register to vote for the 2022 election.