SAN ANTONIO — A new Texas poll indicates GOP candidates will sweep statewide races again in November, a feat Republicans have accomplished every election cycle since 1996.
"Texas Decides" is a joint effort from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (THPF) and KENS 5 and its TEGNA Texas sister stations WFAA in Dallas, KHOU in Houston and KVUE in Austin. It draws on a survey of 1,172 likely Texas voters that was taken September 6-15, 2022. It has a confidence interval of +/- 2.9%. The report reviewed the vote intention for the November 2022 Texas elections.
The election will be held November 8. Early voting starts October 24.
Part 1 of this poll, released here, takes a look at the major statewide races across Texas in the coming election. Parts 2 and 3, which will be released later this week, will respectively focus on the Hispanic population's opinions of the candidates and on culture war issues.
The poll results indicate that Gov. Greg Abbott leads Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke, 51% to 44%, in the race for Texas governor, with most voters' minds made up. Just three percent of respondents were not yet sure who they will vote for in the state's highest-profile race.
The data offers few bright spots for Democrats. Young voters would need to smash 2020 turnout records to vault Democratic challengers over most Republicans.
Ken Paxton, the embattled incumbent attorney general, is in the toughest race of any Republican running statewide, yet he still leads Democrat Rochelle Garza, 47% to 42%, in the poll.
Projections for the race for lieutenant governor mirror the attorney general's race numbers. Incumbent Dan Patrick leads Democratic challenger Mike Collier, 48% to 42%.
A handful of Republican lawmakers and county judges have endorsed Collier, but the politicians crossing party lines to support the Democrat are not well-known statewide.
The national Democratic Party is not likely to inject significant cash into any statewide races, Jones says, meaning Texas Democrats are mostly left to fend for themselves.
However, the party will take special interest in San Antonio, which features the state's only two competitive races for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Residents in southern Texas are likely to see a flurry of ads for U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar and his Republican challenger, Cassy Garcia, in U.S. House District 28.
They'll also see commercials for newcomers Michelle Vallejo and Monica De La Cruz, both running to represent U.S. House District 15.
Jones says Democrats also will work to retain control of county judgeships in Bexar and Harris Counties, and hope to flip the judgeship in Tarrant County.
Here's a breakdown of the individual races in the poll:
Texas Governor's race
The poll found that Republican incumbent Greg Abbott leads Democrat Beto O’Rourke by seven points (51% to 44%) among likely voters. Among most likely (almost certain) voters, the lead grows to 10 points (53% to 43%). Just 1% of voters in both categories (likely/most likely) says they’ll vote for Libertarian Mark Tippetts and Green Party candidate Delilah Barrios.
"Gov. Abbott’s strength among rural and Anglo voters continues to bolster his intransigent structural support in the 2022 race for Texas Governor,” THPF CEO Jason Villalba says of the poll's results. "While O’Rourke has shown himself to be a worthy and hard-working adversary, unless there is a marked shift in the composition of the November electorate, Gov. Abbott will remain the political and thought leader of Texas politics. Only new voters will be able to shift the tide."
Perhaps the poll's most significant finding in the gubernatorial race is the fact that voters seem hardened in their choices, with little room for movement come November. In fact, 95% of all likely voters who say they’ll vote for Abbott tell us they are “certain” about their vote choice. On the other side, 94% of all likely voters who will back O’Rourke say they are “certain” about that choice.
And when you break down support among race, Abbott holds a nearly two-to-one advantage over O’Rourke among white voters, with the incumbent being a 63% choice to his challenger's 33%. O’Rourke has a strong advantage with Black voters, however, up 79% to Abbott's 16%. The support margin is closer among Hispanic voters, with 53% intending to vote for O’Rourke and 39% for Abbott.
Texas Lieutenant Governor's race
In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Republican incumbent Dan Patrick (48%) holds a six-point lead over Democrat Mike Collier (42%) among likely voters. Patrick also enjoys an eight-point advantage over Collier among the most likely (almost certain) voters, holding a 50% to 42% lead there. Meanwhile, 2% of likely voters and 3% of most likely (almost certain) voters intend to support Libertarian Shanna Steele.
In terms of voters who are “certain” about their vote choice in the Lieutenant Governor's race, 95% says they’ll vote for Patrick and 91% say they’ll vote for Collier. In other words, only 5% and 9%, respectively, say they might change their mind.
Texas Attorney General's race
In the Attorney General election, Republican incumbent Ken Paxton leads Democrat Rochelle Garza by five points (47% to 42%) among likely voters and by seven points among the most likely (almost certain) voters (49% to 42%), with 3% of both likely and most likely (almost certain) voters intending to vote for Libertarian Mark Ash.
In this race, only 8% of likely voters and 6% of most likely (almost certain) voters remain undecided.
"A (potential) silver lining for Beto O'Rourke could be that his mobilization effort (in the governor's race) gets the Democratic vote close enough that it allows fellow Democrat Rochelle Garza to knock off Ken Paxton in the attorney general's race," said Mark P. Jones, director of research and analytics for the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation.
However, Jones says Garza isn't currently raising enough money to purchase the commercial time she likely needs to properly introduce herself to Texas voters.
Farther down the ballot
In the race for Texas Comptroller, Republican incumbent Glen Hegar leads Democrat Janet Dudding by 8 points (46% to 38%) among likely voters and 10 points among most likely (almost certain) voters (49% - 39%). Just 3% of voters in both categories say they’ll back Libertarian Alonzo Echevarria-Garza.
In the race for Land Commissioner, Republican Dawn Buckingham enjoys an eight-point lead over Democrat Jay Kleberg (46% to 38%) among likely voters and 12 points among most likely (almost certain) voters (50% to 38%). In this race, 2% of likely and 1% of almost certain voters say they’ll support Green Party candidate Alfred Molison.
Republican incumbent Sid Miller (48%) has a seven-point advantage over Democrat Susan Hays (41%) in the election for Agriculture Commissioner among likely voters. Miller's lead grows to 11 points (51% to 40%) among almost certain voters.
In the race for Railroad Commissioner, Republican incumbent Wayne Christian leads Democrat Luke Warford by seven points (44% to 37%) among likely voters and 10 points (47% to 37%) among most likely (almost certain) voters. Here, 4% of likely and almost certain voters say they’ll support Libertarian Jaime Diez, while 1% of both groups say they’ll vote for the Green Party’s Hunter Crow.
Politicians' favorability in Texas
According to the "Texas Decides" poll, the three political figures viewed most favorably by likely Texas voters are Gov. Greg Abbott (52%), Sen. Ted Cruz (49%) and former President Donald Trump (49%).
The three political figures viewed most unfavorably by likely Texas voters are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (67%), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (60%) and Vice President Kamala Harris (58%).
Former San Antonio mayor and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro was viewed favorably by 32% of respondents and unfavorably by 35%, with 33% saying they didn't know him well enough to have an opinion.
His brother, current U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who represents U.S. House District 20 in San Antonio, was viewed favorably by 29% and unfavorably by 32%, with 39% saying they didn't have an opinion.
See all of the results of "Texas Decides" here or below: