The Republican candidates for Texas governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general all lead their Democratic challengers, according to a new poll from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston.
The poll comes as statewide campaigns begin a final push toward Election Day. Renée Cross, executive director of the Hobby School, spoke to Texas Standard about the results. Listen to the interview above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: You looked at the top three statewide races in Texas in the contest for governor, Greg Abbott is apparently ahead of Beto O’Rourke by 7%, according to these new numbers. That’s with likely voters. But something that stuck out, given the issue of abortion laws in Texas, is that they’re deadlocked at 45% among women voters. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?
Renée Cross: I have to tell you, I was somewhat surprised about that number as well, particularly because O’Rourke has used that to try to galvanize women not only to vote, but obviously to vote for him.
So his message appears to be working? is this the dominant issue, as you see it, in that gubernatorial race, or is there something else that’s eclipsing it?
At this point, with him being tied with Abbott among women, I would actually say his message isn’t working, because that is a message that should favor O’Rourke. However, we also have to keep in mind that this was done during August before Labor Day. And as you know, Labor Day usually kicks off a traditional election season, especially in terms of advertising. And we’re starting to see an influx of advertising across the state by both candidates. But that alone will help O’Rourke quite a bit.
Over the holiday weekend, the GOP Tarrant County judge caused a stir when he said he’d be backing the Democratic challenger to Dan Patrick in the lieutenant governor’s race. What did your numbers have to say about that contest?
Well, it looks like Lt. Governor Patrick is holding steady. Our poll has him up by six percentage points over Mike Collier. And again, this is a repeat of the match in 2018. Tarrant County is interesting because it is a county that has went purple. Patrick’s led by close to four points, I believe, in Tarrant County in 2018. I think that endorsement could hurt him a little bit because it’s going to chip away at some of his support.
Right now, what’s Patrick’s advantage over Collier, according to your numbers?
According to our numbers is 49% to 43%. So Patrick’s leading by six. We also did a similar survey last month in early July, which had Patrick up by five. So statistically, there isn’t a difference.
The slimmest lead in the top three races, this one for Attorney General Ken Paxton, leading Democrat Rochelle Mercedes Garza by only 3%. That surprised you?
I think we all felt like that would be the most competitive race among the statewide races. Paxton does have some problems even within the Republican Party, and Garza has generated quite a bit of excitement among young voters and women. I mean, women favor Garza over Paxton by five percentage points, and she certainly has garnered the attention of young voters.