Jul 27, 2022 - Politics

Polls show Texas governor's race is tightening

Gov. Greg Abbott and Beto O'Rourke
Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke. Photos: Brandon Bell/Getty Images; Rick Kern/Getty Images for MoveOn

Gov. Greg Abbott's lead over Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke is shrinking, according to recent polling results.

State of play: In December, after the well-known Democrat announced his campaign, 54% of voters supported Abbott, compared to 37% who supported O'Rourke, a Quinnipiac University poll showed.

  • This month, 48% of voters support Abbott compared to 43% who support O'Rourke.

Driving the news: A new Mothers Against Greg Abbott ad draws on Democratic political ire over the recent reversal of Roe v. Wade, which triggered an abortion ban in Texas that will make performing the procedure a felony.

  • The ad shows a couple in a doctor’s office when they’re told their baby can't survive after birth. The doctor then says he can call the governor to ask for special permission.

What's happening: Texans think Texas is on the wrong track and have expressed pessimism about their personal finances and the national economy.

  • Abbott's approval rating has slipped to 43%, and 26% of Texas Republicans disapprove of the governor's handling of the electric grid, according to the latest polling figures from the Texas Politics Project.

By the numbers: O'Rourke has outraised Abbott since February but the governor has more in his campaign coffers — $46 million versus $24 million in O'Rourke's campaign.

  • O'Rourke has received a few large checks, including a $1 million donation from George Soros, but relies more on small-dollar donations than Abbott.
  • Abbott, however, has received more donations of $100,000 or more, including $1 million from Kelcy Warren of Dallas-based Energy Transfer.

Yes, but: Billboards and political ads shared by Texans for Abbott blur the president's face into O'Rourke's face, while saying #TeamBIDO will move the state in the wrong direction.

The bottom line: Polling shows a sharp partisan divide with Republicans staunchly supporting Abbott and Democrats supporting O'Rourke. And both parties identified different priorities.

  • For Abbott voters, the priorities are inflation, immigration and border security, and crime and public safety.
  • O'Rourke voters said voting rights, gun control and health care costs are the issues most important to them.

[Related Axios story: California Gov. Gavin Newsom trolls Greg Abbott]

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