Texas governor’s race: O’Rourke climbs back, but…

By Leroy Cleveland - February 24, 2022

Is Republican governor Greg Abbott a shoo-in to win a third term in November?

The latest poll from the Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke chipping away at the former’s lead. In that survey, released on Sunday, February 20, 38 percent of respondents pledged their support for O’Rourke while 45 percent said they would vote for Abbott. The margin represents a 5-point gain for O’Rourke since the January poll.

How: Researchers surveyed 1,188 registered voters
When: February 8-15.

O’Rourke’s rise is undoubtedly tied to citizens’ souring sentiment about the direction of the state. Of those surveyed, 49 percent believe Texas is on the wrong track while 50 percent are satisfied with the overall direction of the state.

Abbott’s most recent overall approval/disapproval rating of 50/46 percent, is considerably weaker than his second term high of 61/23 percent in April 2020 but better than his 45/44 percent rating in September 2021.

While the numbers are promising for Democrats, they’re not nearly good enough to unseat Abbott at this moment.

For Beto to have any chance of winning, a) Abbott’s approval ratings mean must slide to 48 percent or lower and b) O’Rourke must, at the very least, pull even in head-to-head polling.

As long as Gov. Abbott’s approval ratings are 48 percent or higher, his seat should be safe as candidates with a favorability in the 50 percent range (48-52) seldom lose.

Tags: Beto O'Rourke, Greg Abbott, gubernatorial, Midterms polling, Texas governors race