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Gov. Greg Abbott has wide lead in early poll over O'Rourke

Beto O'Rourke may be the most recognizable challenger to Abbott's re-election efforts, but he's still 15 points behind the incumbent in a poll released Wednesday.

Just eleven months are left before voters get to decide if Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will serve another term, but early polls out show the incumbent won't have a problem with another election. 

Challenger Beto O'Rourke, perhaps the best known of a handful of Democratic candidates, lags behind Abbott by 15 points in a poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University.

Abbott was preferred by 52% of respondents over O'Rourke's 37%, which a majority of voters saying the former El Paso congressman is too liberal.

"15 points is more than your typical two-touchdown deficit in football and an even bigger hole in the game of politics," said Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy in a statement released by the university. "That said, Texas is a big state with big issues and there's a lot of time to play catchup between now and November 8, 2022."

The University surveyed more than 1,200 registered voters in Texas last week, out of an estimated 16.9 million in the state.

Depending on political leanings, the Texas-Mexico border and COVID-19 topped a list of urgent issues facing the state, according to respondents.

58% of Republicans pointed to the border as the top item, while Democratic participants said the pandemic was the most urgent.

The poll results were released as both candidates visited southeast Texas this week.

View the poll's results here

Abbott is seeking his third term as Texas' chief executive. 

O'Rourke represented the state's 15th Congressional District from 2013 to 2019 and is a former presidential candidate. He also challenged U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 but lost in a close race by a margin of three percentage points.