Conducted by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, the survey queried 321 registered voters between June 27 and July 7, 2022, and the school gives a confidence interval of =/-5.47%.
Among likely voters, Democrat Hidalgo led with 48 percent to Republican del Moral Mealer’s 47 percent. Another 5 percent said they were undecided.
At the same time, Harris County voters showed a 9 percent preference for Beto O’Rourke over incumbent Governor Greg Abbott — 51 to 42 percent.
Some results may indicate strength for del Moral Mealer among Independent voters, and the survey notes that among the “small number of voters who plan to vote for a minor party gubernatorial candidate or are unsure about their gubernatorial vote intention, del Moral Mealer holds a nearly two to one advantage over Hidalgo.” 57 percent of these respondents chose del Moral Mealer, 29 percent chose Hidalgo, and 14 percent were undecided.
In the demographic breakdown, del Moral Mealer held a 31 percent advantage with white voters, while 66 percent of black voters preferred Hidalgo. However, in results that mirror trends throughout the state, Latino voters preferred del Moral Mealer by 3 percent.
According to U.S. Census numbers, as of July 2021 Harris County is 69 percent white, 44 percent Hispanic or Latino, and 20 percent black.
In a region that has seen skyrocketing homicide and violent crime, 78 percent of survey respondents listed crime and public safety as being among the most important issues in this year’s election. Another 72 percent listed government corruption, which may be a reflection of various county scandals including the felony indictment of three of Hidalgo’s staffers earlier this year.
Secondary issues listed by respondents include voting rights at 59 percent, flooding at 53 percent, election administration at 53 percent, and property taxes at 62 percent of respondents.
In favorability ratings for Harris County officials and candidates, respondents gave del Moral Mealer +17 percent and Hidalgo +7 percent.
Second to del Moral Mealer, Democratic Sheriff Ed Gonzalez had a net favorability rating of +16 percent followed by both Commissioner Adrian Garcia (D-Pct. 2) and his Republican challenger, former Precinct 2 Commissioner Jack Morman, at +10 percent.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, who handily won re-election in 2020 and has sparred with Hidalgo over funding for prosecutors, was viewed favorably by 30 percent of respondents and negatively by 40 percent.
In a statement in response to the survey, del Moral Mealer said the poll showed what residents “already knew – the ideologically driven policies of Lina Hidalgo’s government do not reflect the priorities and values of Harris County residents. Crime and corruption are the top issues for Harris County voters, and she has failed miserably on both.”
“We all deserve to live in communities of which we are proud and in which we feel safe.”
Hidalgo had not issued a response at the time of publication.
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Holly Hansen is a freelance writer 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.