Elections 2022Statewide NewsAbbott Up 7 Points on O’Rourke, Paxton Up 2 on Garza in Poll of Registered Voters

A large majority of those surveyed supported school choice, an issue over which Abbott and O'Rourke are staunchly divided.
August 15, 2022
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A new poll of registered voters by the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler shows Gov. Greg Abbott up 7 percent on challenger Beto O’Rourke.

The top line of three statewide races shows:

Governor

  • Greg Abbott (R) – 46%
  • Beto O’Rourke (D) – 39%
  • Delilah Barrios (G) – 3%
  • Mark Tippetts (L) – 3%

Lt. Governor

  • Dan Patrick (R) – 36%
  • Mike Collier (D) – 28%
  • Shanna Steele (L) – 8%

Attorney General

The Texan Tumbler

  • Ken Paxton (R) – 34%
  • Rochelle Garza (D) – 32%
  • Mark Ash (L) – 8%

The poll’s featured topline surveys registered voters instead of narrowing the scope to likely voters like many other political polls. Among “certain” voters, Abbott’s lead reaches 10 percent, but among “certain or likely” voters, it drops to 6 percent.

Patrick’s lead also only rose among “certain” voters, reaching 10 percent, while Paxton’s margin remained the same when the survey pool was narrowed to both “certain” and “certain or likely” voters.

One bright spot for O’Rourke appeared among Independent voters, where support for the Democrat eclipsed that for Abbott for the first time.

Abbott’s approval rating is a net minus 5 percent, while Patrick’s and Paxton’s are both above water, but barely so.

However, each of those is substantially better than President Joe Biden’s negative 15 percent approval.

O’Rourke’s rating is even at 43 percent favorable and 43 percent unfavorable.

Regarding certain issues between Abbott and O’Rourke, voters have more trust in the GOP incumbent than the Democratic challenger in four of five items polled. The trust level of those surveyed shows:

  • Reducing crime – Abbott +13%
  • Securing the border – Abbott +19%
  • Handling the electrical grid – Abbott +2%
  • Improving our economy – Abbott +10%
  • Bringing people together – O’Rourke +5%

An issue that both candidates believe will play a large role in the top-level clash is school choice. Voters in this poll overwhelmingly supported “allow[ing] parents to use state funding to send their children to charter or private schools.”

Nearly two-thirds of voters supported the proposition to some degree, while only 25 percent opposed it either “somewhat or strongly.”

Those surveyed also overwhelmingly supported a question about whether Abbott should call a special session to “respond to mass shootings.” Two-thirds of respondents supported that, while a quarter disagreed.

When broken down into specific policies, the survey shows 52 percent in varying degrees of support for a mandatory government “buy back” of “semi-automatic assault-style rifles”; two-thirds support for increasing the age to buy those rifles to 21; and 57 percent support for “allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns in schools.”

Among the respondents, 44 percent said they had a firearm in their possession at home.

On border security, Abbott’s string of policies received varying levels of support. Nearly 80 percent of respondents support his enhanced vehicle inspections for traffic coming in from Mexico. Operation Lone Star is supported by 57 percent of voters polled. Just over half support the voluntary bussing program the state enacted back in April. And 47 percent support using state funds to finish the border wall.

Over 60 percent of respondents support “granting permanent legal status to immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally when they were children” and 54 percent support expanding Medicaid “if the federal government pays for almost all of the cost.”

Legalizing marijuana for medical purposes is supported by 72 percent of respondents, including 67 percent of Republicans. When tweaked to recreational legalization, 55 percent of voters show support including only 43 percent of Republicans.

While coronavirus measures linger on their last leg, 53 percent of respondents said they had not worn a mask in the last week. Broken down by party, it shows that 70 percent of Democrats, 43 percent of Independents, and 31 percent of Republicans had worn a mask in the last seven days.

This latest poll shows Abbott maintaining a sizable lead on O’Rourke as the pair enters the home stretch of the campaign. They will meet for their one and only debate before the November 8 election on September 30.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.