Texas Republican statewide candidates build on leads

A new poll found widening margins between Texas statewide candidates.

The poll conducted by Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston was released Tuesday. It surveyed 1,200 likely Texas voters Oct. 19-26.

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, leads his Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke by 13 points leading up to the 2022 November midterm elections.

Of those surveyed, 53% said they supported Abbott while 40% selected O’Rourke.

The tightest statewide race was that for attorney general, with incumbent Republican Ken Paxton leading Democrat Rochelle Garza by 12 points.

In the race of Lieutenant Governor, Republican incumbent Dan Patrick held a 15% lead over Democratic candidate Mike Collier — 51% to 36% — with 10% stating they were undecided.

Comptroller Glenn Hegar, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian, all incumbents and Republicans, also held double digit leads over their opponents.

While not an incumbent, Dawn Buckingham, the Republican candidate for Land Commissioner, held a 16% lead over Democrat Jay Kleberg with 18% stating they were undecided.

However, the poll also found that except for Beto O’Rourke, who is well-known, more than half of the likely voters do not know enough about the other statewide Democratic candidates to have an opinion of them. The same is true for the GOP candidates other than Abbott, Patrick and Paxton.

Renée Cross, senior executive director and researcher at the Hobby School, said the results reinforce Texas’ reputation as a red state.

“We found stark generational differences, with millennials and members of Gen Z more likely to support Democratic candidates than older voters,” Cross said in a statement. “Black and Latino voters also continue to lean Democratic, but that wasn’t enough to overcome Republican momentum.”

The poll also surveyed leading issues among voters. It found that crime and public safety, inflation and the reliability of the state’s grid were of greatest concern among the electorate.

About 32% of those polled said inflation was the top issue impacting their election decisions. Nineteen percent said immigration and the border and 10% said abortion.

Texas voters have until Nov. 4 to vote early. Election Day is Nov. 8.

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