With just six weeks to go before the November midterm elections, a poll released by the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (TXHPF) and TEGNA television stations in Texas shows Governor Greg Abbott holds a solid seven-point lead over his Democrat opponent, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. The poll of likely voters showed 51 percent of voters plan to vote for Abbott and 44 percent plan to vote for O’Rourke.

The poll found that Abbott’s lead increases to 10 percent with voters who said that they will almost certainly vote in the midterm election. Most of each candidate’s support comes from political party loyalty but the most important measure, independent voters, comes out in Abbott’s favor. Abbott holds a 28 point lead over O’Rourke with independent voters. As in most races everywhere, a candidate in Texas cannot win without support from independent voters. They are breaking in favor of Abbott.

Nearly every Democrat and Republican planned to vote in line with their party affiliation, with 94 percent of Republicans backing Abbott and 95 percent of Democrats supporting O’Rourke. However, Abbott held a 28-point lead over O’Rourke among respondents who identified as independents.

While Abbott showed a strong lead among white voters, O’Rourke led the incumbent governor among Black and Hispanic voters, although his lead with Hispanic voters was slimmer.

O’Rourke’s support also came primarily from younger populations — Generation Z and Millennials — while Abbott drew support from older populations — Generation X, Boomers and the Silent Generation.

Male voters were more likely to support Abbott, while women voters only slightly preferred O’Rourke to his Republican opponent, according to the poll.

All of this information tracks with what a political observer might expect. O’Rourke is more popular with younger voters and minorities. Note, though, that his lead with Hispanic voters is less wide as Republicans are beginning to pick up Hispanic support in a big way in Texas. And, for reasons that escape me, women voters lean toward O’Rourke more so than Abbott.

For reference, the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. The Chairman of the Board is a Republican and a former member of the Texas House of Representatives from Dallas. The Board of Directors is comprised of a mix of Republicans and Democrats. The poll finds that few voters are undecided at this point.

“Gov. Abbott’s strength among rural and Anglo voters continues to bolster his intransigent structural support in the 2022 race for Texas Governor,” said Jason Villalba, CEO of the TXHPF. “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, Governor Abbott will remain the political and thought leader of Texas politics. Only new voters will be able to shift the tide.”

Hispanic likely voters support O’Rourke 53% to 39% over Abbott.

O’Rourke is underwater on favorability. Abbott is viewed favorably by 52% and unfavorably by 46% of Texas likely voters. O’Rourke is viewed favorably by 47% and unfavorably by 49% of Texas likely voters.

In comparison, both Trump and Biden are underwater in favorability. Biden is more popular with Texas Democrats than Trump is with Texas Republicans. However, among likely voters in general, Trump is viewed more favorably than Biden.

Donald Trump is viewed favorably by 49% and unfavorably by 50% of Texas likely voters while Joe Biden is viewed favorably by 42% and unfavorably by 57% of Texas likely voters.

Among likely Republican voters, Abbott is viewed favorably by 91%, Ted Cruz by 86% and Trump by 85%.

Among likely Democratic voters, O’Rourke is viewed favorably by 94%, Biden by 87% and Kamala Harris by 82%.

Also important are the other statewide elections. Republicans look to be in solid position there, too.

“All seven of the statewide Republican executive candidates from Abbott for governor to Wayne Christian for railroad commissioner are on course for victory, barring an unprecedented level of turnout by Millennials and especially Generation Z,” said Mark P. Jones, TXHPF Director of Research and Analytics.

O’Rourke is counting heavily on the abortion issue to drive Democrats to the polls. His political ads on television are all about that issue and nothing else, at least that I’ve seen here in the Houston market. Abbott’s ads are more biographical, upbeat, and focus on his work as governor.

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