Elections 2020IssuesStatewide NewsNew Texas Poll Reveals High Approval Rating for Abbott, Hegar Leading Anemic Senate Primary

A new poll surveyed likely Texas voters on everything from the governor's job performance and the Senate primary race to President Trump's job performance.
and January 30, 2020
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The Texas Lyceum commissioned a poll that gauged the opinions of likely Texas voters. The topics focused on the Democratic presidential and U.S. Senate primary races, Governor Abbott’s and President Trump’s approval ratings, issue priorities, and feelings about the economy. 

Governor Abbott’s Approval Ratings

Texas Governor Greg Abbott maintains an overall approval rating of 63 percent with only 34 percent saying they disapprove of his job performance. 

Along party lines, Gov. Abbott retains an overwhelming approval rating among Republicans at 87 percent and relatively high approval among Democrats at 43 percent. 

Among Anglo voters, Abbott maintains 72 percent approval, as well as a 52 percent approval among African Americans and 60 percent among Hispanic voters.

The Texan Mug

These results come after Gov. Abbott announced Texas’ decision to opt-out of the refugee resettlement program under the terms of President Trump’s executive order earlier this year, making Texas the first state to withdraw from the program. 

In a letter informing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of his decision, Abbott attributes his decision to the state’s having to deal “with disproportionate migration issues resulting from a broken federal immigration system” which require resources to be given to “those who are already here,” including “refugees, migrants, and the homeless.” 

When asked what issues remain the most important to Texans, immigration was cited as the number one issue at 19 percent followed by healthcare at nine percent.

Democratic Presidential Race

Among likely Democratic primary voters, former vice president Joe Biden is slightly ahead of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by two points at 28 and 26 percent, respectively.

In third sits Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at 13 percent. Behind her are the mayors/former mayors with Michael Bloomberg at nine percent and Pete Buttigieg at six. 

A majority of Sanders’ support comes from 18-29 year-olds. Whereas Biden pulls his support from the 45-and-older crowd. 

Presidential General Election

President Trump holds a polling lead over the top three Democratic challengers with leads ranging from three points to eight points. Sanders is the closest behind by only three percent, with Biden trailing by five, and Warren by eight. 

Notably, among independents, President Trump pulls in 57 percent to Biden’s 28 percent. However, when pitted against Sanders, President Trump’s independent support drops to 41 percent to Sanders’ 44 percent. 

President Trump’s Approval Ratings and Impeachment Hearing

The president’s overall approval rating also reveals a fairly even split among Texans with 52 percent saying they disapprove of his job performance, while 47 percent say they approve. 

At a partisan level, President Trump maintains high approval ratings among Republicans at 89 percent. 

On the other side of the aisle, however, 85 percent of Democrats expressed disapproval at the president’s performance. 

Regarding impeachment, Texans remain split on the matter with 45 percent saying they believed the Senate should vote against impeachment and 44 percent saying they believed the Senate should vote in favor of it. 

Importantly, the results revealed a sharp partisan divide with 86 percent of Republicans saying they believed the Senate should not vote to impeach President Trump and 77 percent of Democrats saying they believed the Senate should vote in favor of impeachment. 

Additionally, 61 percent of Anglo Texans stated their belief that President Trump should remain in office, while 54 percent of Hispanic Texans and 72 percent of African American Texans said that he should be removed. 

Senate Democratic Primary

The Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate has no clear frontrunner. MJ Hegar sits in the lead at 11 percent — the only candidate to eclipse double-digits. She’s trailed by State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) at eight percent and Workers Defense Project founder Christina Tzintzún Ramirez at seven percent.

Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards follows right behind at six percent. And there is a five-way tie at five percent between Victor Hugo Harris, Michael Cooper, Sema Hernandez, and former Congressman Chris Bell.

A whopping 42 percent of voters polled are undecided in the race.

In short, it’s really anyone’s game at this point as voters clearly don’t feel strongly about any of the candidates.

Views of the State/Economy’s Direction

An important gauge of a potential election is voter feelings about the direction of the country/state and the state of the economy. 

The portion of the Texas electorate that doesn’t have an opinion on that matter has fallen from just over 10 percent in 2018, to almost zero in 2020. 

Those who don’t like the country’s direction and those who do have increased in almost exact proportion with one another, with the former amounting to almost 60 percent and the latter about 40 percent.

In terms of their outlook on the national economy, the number of those who say it’s better-off has slightly increased from last year to just under 40 percent. While those who believe the economy to be worse-off has decreased from 2019 to about 25 percent. 

Since 2017, the number of people who say they’re better off than the previous year has increased about 10 percent — reaching around 36 percent in totality. During the same time frame, those who say they’re worse off than the previous year increased from about 15 percent to 21 percent between 2017 and 2019, before declining slightly to 20 percent this year. 

Looking forward, 45 percent of respondents believe their children will be better off than they are with those believing their children will be worse-off dropping down to 25 percent. 

Methodology

The poll was conducted from January 10-19, 2020. It polled 1,200 likely voters in Texas and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percent — but that can vary based on the individual question.

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Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.