Criminal JusticeElections 2022Local NewsTaxes & SpendingNew Poll Shows Republican Mealer Up Four Over Democratic Harris County Judge Hidalgo

Although Hidalgo has declined all debate invitations, the candidates have publicly sparred over law enforcement funding and public safety.
October 4, 2022
A new poll out Tuesday shows voters prefer Republican Alexandra del Moral Mealer to incumbent Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo 48 to 44 percent, with 8 percent undecided.

On behalf of the conservative Defend Texas Liberty Political Action Committee (PAC), CWS Research conducted the survey of 900 likely voters in Harris County between September 24 and October 1. Among respondents, 38 percent identified as Democrats, 34 percent as Republicans, and 28 percent said they were politically independent.

Respondents reported a 47 percent unfavorable rating for Hidalgo, and 53 percent agreed that bail reform had increased crime in Harris County. Another 66 percent said the county should increase law enforcement funding, and 54 percent preferred a reduction in county property taxes.

In a question about sexually explicit materials in county libraries, 48 percent responded that such materials should not be available to minors, 32 percent said they should, and 19 percent were undecided.

The poll is in sharp contrast to a University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs poll released in early September, which reported Hidalgo with a 10-point lead over Mealer. Critics have noted that the poll only surveyed 195 likely voters, but the university worked with analyst Professor Mark Jones of Rice University, who is widely respected in polling.

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A July poll also conducted by the Hobby School found Hidalgo and Mealer in a statistical dead heat, with 78 percent of registered voters listing crime and public safety as the most important issue this year, followed by government corruption at 72 percent.

Concerns over local government corruption rose in the region after three of Hidalgo’s staffers were indicted earlier this year on felony charges in relation to an $11 million COVID-19 vaccine outreach contract awarded to a highly connected Democratic strategist.

Jones is reportedly working on another poll, which will be published between now and the beginning of early voting on October 24.

The Defend Texas Liberty poll also found that Harris County voters preferred Beto O’Rourke over incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott by two percentage points, and half of all respondents reported an unfavorable opinion of President Biden.

Former state representative Jonathan Stickland, who leads Defend Texas Liberty PAC, said that results indicate that Democrats’ “radical agenda” is unpopular with Texans.

“Even in Harris County, a majority of voters recognize that leftist leadership is increasing crime and making peoples’ lives worse,” said Stickland in a statement. “These radicals are trying to defund the police and sexualize kids, and the people of Harris County are sick of it.”

Hidalgo has thus far declined all debate invitations. She has released political ads accusing Mealer of being extreme for supporting the review of county voter registration rolls to remove ineligible voters and has tried to tie Mealer to former President Trump.

Defending her record, Hidalgo says her administration has allocated more than $1 billion of the county’s budget to public safety. However, that figure includes spending on early childhood education, public Wi-Fi, new trails, and other non-traditional programs administered through the county’s health department.

Mealer has criticized Hidalgo’s approach to public safety during the current crime wave and has pledged to add significant resources to traditional law enforcement.

A copy of the poll can be found below.


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Holly Hansen

Holly Hansen is a regional reporter for The Texan living in Harris County. Her former column, “All In Perspective” ran in The Georgetown Advocate, Jarrell Star Ledger, and The Hill Country News, and she has contributed to a variety of Texas digital media outlets. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in History, and in addition to writing about politics and policy, also writes about faith and culture.