Poll: Abbott widens lead over O’Rourke in Texas governor’s race

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has widened his lead to 9 percentage points over his Democratic challenger, Beto O’Rourke, according to a new poll released on Monday by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler.

The poll found that Abbott garnered the support of 47 percent of respondents, compared to 38 percent who indicated support for O’Rourke.

The same pollster recorded a 7-point lead for Abbott roughly a month earlier.

In the latest poll, Abbott and O’Rourke are nearly tied among independents, with O’Rourke edging out a 1 percentage point lead. 

Abbott clocked in with a slight lead among women, receiving 44 percent support compared to O’Rourke’s 42 percent. Abbott also recorded a 10 percentage point lead among parents.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the contest as “likely Republican.”

Half of respondents approved of Abbott’s job as governor, with a quarter indicating they strongly approve. Thirty-four percent said they strongly disapprove of his job performance.

A majority — 54 percent — indicated support for Abbott’s relocation of migrants by bus to Washington, D.C., for those processed by Customs and Border Protection.

Abbott has relocated thousands of migrants since April in protest of President Biden and Democrats’ immigration policies, also sending some to Chicago and New York City. The poll only asked respondents about the D.C. relocations.

Abbott has said the busing provides relief to overwhelmed border communities in his state.

The initiative has been met with fury from Democrats, but only 29 percent of respondents in the poll said they opposed it. Sixteen percent said they didn’t know whether they support the relocations.

More broadly, 52 percent of respondents said they approved of Abbott’s handling of immigration along the border between Mexico and Texas. 

Among independents, 35 percent approved of Abbott’s handling of immigration, while 47 percent disapproved.

The poll also found respondents take a dim view of Biden’s handling of the economy as inflation remains near a 40-year high. Sixty-one percent of respondents said the economy has worsened over the past year.

High inflation has created a political obstacle for Democrats in races across the country, but the party is hoping issues like abortion can improve candidates’ chances.

Polling has consistently shown the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is perceived negatively by a plurality of Americans. But in Texas, respondents were split.

Forty-six percent each said they approved or disapproved of the court’s decision, with 8 percent of respondents saying they didn’t know.

The poll was conducted Sept. 6-13 and included interviews with 1,268 registered voters in Texas weighted based on the state’s population.

The respondents included those surveyed over the phone and online, and the margin of error is 2.9 percentage points when accounting for design effects.

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