HOUSTON — There’s an old adage that says the more things change, the more they stay the same. According to our new poll, that applies to politics in Texas as well, as support for Republicans remains strong across the board heading into the November elections.
This is part one of our KHOU-Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation Poll. It draws on a survey of 1,172 likely Texas voters that was taken between Sept. 6 and Sept. 15. The report reviewed the vote intention for the November Texas elections.
With a little less than two months to Election Day, the poll is giving us a look at who’s up and who’s down in the biggest races across Texas, including the closely watched run for governor.
The election will be held on Nov. 8. Early voting begins on Oct. 24.
Parts two and three, which will be released later this week, will respectively focus on the Hispanic population's opinions of the candidates, and on culture war issues.
The poll found that Republican incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott remains the front runner in his re-election bid against Beto O’Rourke. Abbott is holding onto a seven-point lead against O'Rourke (51% to 44%) percent among likely voters.
"Beto needs some type of status quo gamechanger because if status quo continues, he's en route to lose from seven to 12 points by November 8," said Dr. Mark Jones, Director Of Research and Analytics with the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation.
Among most likely (almost certain) voters, the lead grows to 10 points (53% to 43%). Just 1% of voters in both categories (likely/most likely) say they’ll vote for Libertarian Mark Tippetts and Green Party candidate Delilah Barrios.
A deeper dive breaks down how Abbott is leading among Texans. The governor leads O'Rourke among men by 18% (57% to 39%). Despite the controversial statewide abortion ban, Abbott trails O'Rourke by 2% among women – 48% to 46%.
"That two-point lead among women for Beto was the most surprising part of our poll," said Jason Villalba, CEO of the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation.
O'Rourke runs strong among younger voters. A majority of millennials, 49% to 42%, and Generation Z, 67% to 23%, plan to vote for O'Rourke. The problem, experts say, is historically they don't vote in large numbers, older voters do.
"The only way he can overcome this is to cut into some of Abbott's support in the rural areas and to bring out newly registered women voters who are younger," Villalba said.
"For him to win, he needs those students to turn out in massive voters in November," Jones said.
When you break down support among race, Abbott holds a nearly two-to-one advantage over O’Rourke among white voters, with the incumbent being a 63% choice to his challenger's 33%. O’Rourke has a strong advantage with Black voters, however, up 79% to Abbott's 16%. The support margin is closer among Hispanic voters, with 53% intending to vote for O’Rourke and 39% for Abbott.
Lieutenant Governor's race
"We’re not seeing those elite endorsements having an impact on Republican voters," Jones said.
Attorney General's race
"If anyone is truly in danger of losing this election, it’s probably Paxton," Villalba said.
Three percent of likely and most likely (almost certain) voters intend to vote for Libertarian Mark Ash.
In this race, only 8% of likely voters and 6% of most likely (almost certain) voters remain undecided.
Further down the ballot
In the Texas Comptroller's race, Republican incumbent Glen Hegar leads Democrat Janet Dudding by eight points (46% to 38%) among likely voters and 10 points among most likely (almost certain) voters (49% to 39%). Just 3% of voters in both categories say they’ll back Libertarian Alonzo Echevarria-Garza.
In the race for Land Commissioner, Republican Dawn Buckingham has an eight-point lead over Democrat Jay Kleberg (46% to 38%) among likely voters and 12 points among most likely (almost certain) voters (50% to 38%). In this race, 2% of likely and 1% of almost certain voters say they’ll support Green Party candidate Alfred Molison.
Republican incumbent Sid Miller (48%) has a seven-point advantage over Democrat Susan Hays (41%) in the election for Agriculture Commissioner among likely voters. Miller's lead grows to 11 points (51% to 40%) among almost certain voters.
In the race for Railroad Commissioner, Republican incumbent Wayne Christian leads Democrat Luke Warford by seven points (44% to 37%) among likely voters and 10 points (47% to 37%) among most likely (almost certain) voters. Here, 4% of likely and almost certain voters say they’ll support Libertarian Jaime Diez, while 1% of both groups say they’ll vote for the Green Party’s Hunter Crow.
Politician favorability in Texas
According to the KHOU-Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation Poll, the three political figures viewed most favorably by likely Texas voters are Gov. Greg Abbott (52%), Sen. Ted Cruz (49%) and former President Donald Trump (49%).
The three political figures viewed most unfavorably by likely Texas voters are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (67%), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (60%) and Vice President Kamala Harris (58%).
What’s very clear about this poll is that very few voters are undecided, and Texas continues to see a spike in newly registered voters. The big questions now are how will they vote and will the Dobbs abortion decision lead to surprises at the ballot box?
"Republicans across the board are on course for victory barring something unexpected happening," Jones said.
Below are the full results and breakdown of the KHOU-Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation Poll, including what voters think about Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo in comparison to her opponent Alexandra del Moral Mealer. and several other candidates.
Part two of our poll focusing on Hispanic voters and who's winning the Latino vote will be available here at KHOU.com on Wednesday.
Part 1: The KHOU/Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation Poll was conducted in partnership with our sister stations WFAA, KVUE and KENS