Beto O’Rourke has trailed Greg Abbott in every Texas poll this year

Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke faces an uphill battle to defeat Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, polls show, after the rivals faced each other in the only debate before this year’s midterm elections.

O’Rourke rose to national prominence after nearly defeating Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 Senate race, giving Democrats hope to turn the state around for the first time in decades. O’Rourke is now challenging Abbott, who was first elected in 2014, in the gubernatorial race.

Abortion, one of the top issues for many voters after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn abortion Roe v. Calf, emerged as key issues during Friday’s debate, with both candidates accusing each other of holding extremist views on the issue. O’Rourke also tried to link what he sees as Abbott’s “hateful rhetoric” to a mass shooting in El Paso in 2019, while Abbott took aim at President Joe Biden, whose low — but improving — approval rating the Democrats could burden in important races.

O’Rourke entered the debate as an underdog, having not topped a single poll this year — although Abbott’s lead was recently in single digits.

Beto O'Rourke, Greg Abbott Gubernatorial Race Polls
Above, a split image of Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke and Gov. Greg Abbott. O’Rourke did not lead Abbott in a single public poll released in 2022.
Eric Thayer and Michael M Santiago/Getty Images

A Quinnipiac University poll conducted Sept. 22-26 of 1,327 likely voters — the most recent public poll of the race — found Abbott ahead of O’Rourke by 7 points. The poll found that the Republican governor received 53 percent of the vote, while only 46 percent of those polled said they intended to vote for O’Rouke.

The poll found that 38 percent of voters were most concerned about the US-Mexico border, while 17 percent named abortion as their top concern. It had a margin of error of 2.7 percentage points.

Other polls came to similar conclusions. A September 20-22 Emerson College poll of 1,000 likely voters found O’Rourke trailing Abbott by 8 percentage points. Fifty percent of respondents said they would vote for Abbott, while 42 percent said they would support O’Rourke in November.

Emerson found that most Texans were more concerned about the economy than immigration. The survey had an error rate of 3.02 percentage points.

No public poll this year has found O’Rourke leading Abbott. The most recent poll on this was the Redfield & Wilton Strategy poll conducted on November 9, 2021 among 724 likely voters. It found O’Rourke by a point over Abbott.

Texas Governor Race Slightly Tight: Polls

Abbott may have a lead over O’Rourke, but there are signs the former congressman has made some gains in recent weeks. Democrats experienced a downturn in several key elections after the Supreme Court was overthrown in June Roe v. calf– Repeal abortion laws across the country. Meanwhile, Biden’s once-dismal approval rating has risen — though he remains underwater, which could mitigate Democrat losses.

According to a recent FiveThirtyEight poll, Abbott currently leads O’Rourke by about 7.3 percentage points. While it’s still a comfortable lead for Abbott, it’s narrower than the 10.4-point lead he had in June.

Abbott in a closer race than previous elections

Although Abbott appears to have a lead over O’Rourke, he still appears to be heading towards his closest pick. During the 2018 midterm elections, in which Democrats made gains across the country, Abbott sailed to re-election by about 11 points, despite O’Rourke nearly flipping the Senate seat and the Democrats two House seats.

In 2014, Abbott defeated Democrat Wendy Davis by more than 20 points.

news week has reached out to the O’Rourke and Abbott campaigns for comment. Beto O’Rourke has trailed Greg Abbott in every Texas poll this year

Rick Schindler

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