Texas Poll: Gov. Abbott, O’Rourke in Virtual Tie in Possible Race

Texas Poll: Gov. Abbott, O'Rourke in Virtual Tie in Possible Race greg abbott gestures as he speaks during a congressional hearing Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott (Stephen Spillman/AP)

By Brian Freeman | Tuesday, 02 November 2021 11:38 AM

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and expected Democrat challenger Beto O'Rourke are virtually tied a year before they could meet in a possible gubernatorial race, according to a new poll conducted by the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (TxHPF).

The poll shows Republican Abbott leading O'Rourke, 44% to 43% among those who voted last year. Ten percent are unsure of whom they would support and 3% back minor party candidates.

O'Rourke, a former Congressman, has not formally announced his candidacy for governor but is widely expected to do so.

If actor Matthew McConaughey decides to run as an independent candidate, as has been speculated, the poll shows the race would be virtually unchanged.

Other results from the survey include:

  • Among Hispanic respondents, 49% favor O'Rourke and 31% back Abbott.
  • Hispanics who are evangelical Protestants are more likely to vote for Abbott (42%) than O'Rourke (37%), while Catholic Hispanics and non-religious Hispanics overwhelmingly favor O'Rourke (56% and 46%) over Abbott (29% and 28%).
  • Abbott has an overwhelming lead in the Republican primary race, with the two-term governor ahead of his next-closest rival, former state GOP Chairman Allen West, by a margin of 64% to 13%.

"Gov. Abbott has shored up his right flank and stands firmly on solid ground with Republican primary voters," TxHPF Chairman and CEO Jason Villalba said. "But based on our data, it appears that he has achieved this objective by cutting deeply into his support with Texans who vote in the general election."

Villalba went on to speculate, "much can happen over the course of the year, but these numbers show that not only can we expect a competitive general election, but that Abbott's shift to the hard right may have imperiled his governorship."

The poll was carried out between Oct. 14-27, with 1,402 respondents interviewed online. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.