Beto O’Rourke’s chances to beat Abbott with less than 3 months to go before the election

Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke is hoping to oust incumbent Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in the upcoming Nov. 8 half-term, but with less than three months until Election Day, the Liberal nominee appears to be up for an uphill battle.

O’Rourke, who previously served in Congress for Texas’ 16th District from 2013 to 2019, significantly raised his national profile when he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent GOP Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. After that, the Texas Democrat launched an unsuccessful campaign for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination that fell down well before the caucuses and primary elections began.

The Liberal candidate has broken fundraising records in Texas in his attempt to unseat Abbott, who has already served two terms as governor. According to his July 15 campaign announcement, O’Rourke has raised a whopping $27.6 million in four months. However, Abbott has raked in nearly $25 million over the same period, with polls showing he has a significant advantage.

Beto O'Rourke and Greg Abbott
Polls show Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke is trailing behind incumbent Republican Texas governor Greg Abbott with less than three months to go before Election Day. Pictured above left is O’Rourke at Pan American Neighborhood Park in Austin, Texas on June 26. Above right, Abbott speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) August 4 in Dallas.
Sergio Flores/Brandon Bell/Getty Images

poll results The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, released Sunday, put O’Rourke 7 points behind Abbott. The Democratic candidate had the support of just 39 percent of registered voters, while the Republican had 46 percent support. The poll was conducted August 1-7 among 1,384 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 points.

A previous poll conducted June 27-July 1 by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs and YouGov led Abbott by 5 points. O’Rourke was supported by 42 percent of registered voters and the incumbent governor had 47 percent support. It included 1,169 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 points.

Poll results from CBS News and YouGov June 22-27 left O’Rourke 8 points behind. The former congressman had the support of 41 percent of likely voters and Abbott had the support of 49 percent. The poll included 1,075 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percent.

The current average of recent Texas polls released by news and polls site FiveThirtyEight puts Abbot with a nearly 9-point lead. O’Rourke has the support of about 40.4 percent of Texans compared to Abbott’s 49.3 percent.

A Democrat winning a statewide race in Texas remains a difficult feat. The state has not been led by a Democratic governor since 1995, and the last time a Democratic senator represented the state in Congress was in 1993. GOP presidential candidates have also carried Texas in every election since 1980. However, analysts have pointed out relatively tight margins in recent statewide contests, as well as Democrat victories in more local contests — Texas is described as trending “purple” rather than staying solid red.

In the 2018 Senate race, O’Rourke finished just 2.6 percent behind Cruz. The Democrat had the support of 48.3 percent of Texas voters, compared to the incumbent Republican’s 50.9 percent. However, former President Donald Trump fared better against President Joe Biden in 2020, scoring 52.1 percent versus the Democrat’s 46.5 percent. Beto O’Rourke’s chances to beat Abbott with less than 3 months to go before the election

Rick Schindler

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