AAF-Amarillo Gov Affairs 2022-2023

Dirk Johnston, Chair

 

August 2022

Polls, Polls, Polls

Two new polls on statewide races to report on this week. The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler released a poll Monday with the following results:

  • In the gubernatorial contest, incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Austin, leads former U.S. Rep. Robert (Beto) O’Rourke, D-El Paso, by nine percentage points, 47% to 38%
  • The same pollster showed Abbott leading by seven percentage points roughly a month ago
  • Abbott and O’Rourke are nearly tied among independents, with O’Rourke edging out a one percentage point lead. Abbott held a slight lead among women, receiving 44 percent support compared to O’Rourke’s 42 percent. Half of respondents approved of Abbott’s job as governor, with a quarter indicating they strongly approve. Thirty-four percent said they strongly disapprove of his job performance. A majority, 54%, supported Abbott’s relocation of migrants by bus to Washington, D.C. Respondents were evenly split, 46% to 46%, in approval or disapproval of the SCOTUS Dobbs decision, with eight percent of respondents saying they were undecided.
  • The poll was conducted by phone and online Sept. 6-13 with 1,268 registered voters. It has a margin of error of + 2.9 percentage points.

Another poll released Thursday by Spectrum News and Siena College had the following results:

 

  • In the gubernatorial contest, Abbott leads O’Rourke by seven percentage points, 50% to 43%
  • In the race for Lt. Governor, Republican incumbent Dan Patrick leads Democratic challenge Mike Collier by nine percentage points, 49% to 40%
  • In the AG’s race, Republican incumbent Ken Paxton leads Democratic challenger Michelle Rosa Garza by five percentage points, 47% to 42%
  • Said Siena pollsters, “Governor Abbott, who won a landslide thirteen-point race against Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez four years ago, has a seven-point lead with over six weeks until Election Day. Abbott has the support of 95% of Republicans and O’Rourke has the support of 93% of Democrats, while independents tilt toward Abbott by one point. White voters favor Abbott by over two-to-one, 64-31%, while Black voters prefer O’Rourke 79-10% and a majority of Latinos, 58-36%, plan to vote for O’Rourke.”
  • Economic issues were the top concern of those surveyed, followed by immigration, threats to democracy, abortion, gun policies, crime, climate change and racial justice. Click this link to explore the issue results.
  • The telephone survey was conducted Sept. 14-18 with calls in English and Spanish to 651 likely Texas voters. It has margin of error of + 4.4 percentage points.  

Here’s our running table on polling from the gubernatorial contest: 

GOVERNOR: Average: Abbott +7.5% **

 

Poll

Accuracy*

Dates

Sample

M of E

Abbott

O’Rourke

Spread

UT Tyler/DMN

B/C

9/6-13

1,268 RV

+/- 2.9%

47%

38%

Abbott +9

Spectrum News/Siena College

 

9/14-18

651 LV

+/- 4.4%

50%

43%

Abbott +7

UT/TX Tribune/ TX Politics Project

B+

8/28-9/6

1,200 RV

+/- 2.83%

45%

40%

Abbott +5

UH – TSU TX Trends Survey

8/11-29

1,312 LV

+/- 2.7%

49%

42%

Abbott +7

UT Tyler/DMN

B/C

8/1-7

1,384 RV

+/- 2.6%

46%

39%

Abbott +7

UH Hobby Center/YouGov

B+

6/27-7/7

1,169 RV

+/- 2.9%

49%

44%

Abbott +5

UT/TX Tribune/ TX Politics Project

B+

6/16-24

1,200 RV

+/- 2.89%

45%

39%

Abbott +6

CBS News/YouGov

B+

6/22-27

1,075 adults

+/- 4.7%

49%

41%

Abbott +8

Quinnipiac

A-

6/9-13

1,257 RV

+/- 2.8%

48%

43%

Abbott +5

Blueprint Polling

6/8-10

    603 LV

+/- 3.99%

56%

37%

Abbott +18

UT Tyler/DMN

B/C

5/2-10

1,232 RV

+/- 2.8%

46%

39%

Abbott +7

UT/TX Tribune/YouGov

B+

4/14-22

1,200 RV

+/- 2.83%

48%

37%

Abbott +11

Rice U/TX Hispanic Pol. Foundation

3/18-28

1,139 LV

+/- 3.9%

50%

42%

Abbott +8

Texas Lyceum

3/11-20

  926 RV

+/- 2.83%

42%

40%

Abbott +2

Emerson College /Nexstar/Hill

A-

2/21-22

1,000 LV

+/- 4.2%

52%

45%

Abbott +7

UT Tyler/DMN

B/C

2/8-15

1,188 RV

+/- 2.8%

45%

38%

Abbott +7

Climate Nexus

2/1-9

  933 RV

+/- 3.3%

45%

40%

Abbott +5

UT/TX Tribune/YouGov

B+

1/28-2/7

1,200 RV

+/- 2.83%

47%

37%

Abbott +10

Quinnipiac

A-

12/2-6

1224 RV

+/- 2.8%

52%

37%

Abbott +15

UT Tyler/DMN

B/C

11/9-16

1106 RV

+/- 3.2%

44.7%

39.3%

Abbott +5.4

UT/TX Tribune/YouGov

B+

10/22-31

1200 RV

+/- 2.8%

46%

37%

Abbott +9

Rice U/TX Hispanic Pol. Foundation

10/14-27

1402 RV

+/- 2.6%

43%

42%

Abbott +1

UT Tyler/DMN

B/C

9/7-14

1148 RV

+/- 3.7%

42%

37%

Abbott +5

*    As graded by FiveThirtyEight   

** RealClearPolitics average of Texas gubernatorial polling as of 9/22 is Abbott +7.5% 

Speaking of issues important to Texas voters, UT’s Texas Politics Project, headed up by political scientist Jim Henson, has some issues data available that only got a slight mention in last week’s UT poll on the gubernatorial contest. You can find results and graphics on the Project’s latest poll page and a broader survey of the latest results in the blog section of the Project site. 

Some highlights: 

  • Texans’ perceptions of their personal economic conditions remain mostly negative or stagnant, even if, overall, they have gotten a little less dour.
  • Democrats are more likely to convey stagnation rather than worsening of their economic situations.
  • Even if attitudes about the economy have become somewhat less negative, almost everyone says rising prices have impacted their household finances.
  • Texas Republicans have maintained their intense focus on immigration and border security as political issues despite the increased media attention to other issues during the Spring and Summer after the Dobbs decision and the Uvalde mass shooting.
  • No surprise here, Donald Trump remains a primal force in Texas GOP politics.

Another “name” Republican endorses Democrat Mike Collier over Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

Remember a couple of issues ago we talked about some high-profile Republicans who have endorsed Democrat Collier over Patrick? Normally, we don’t report on endorsements, and yes, they have been outgoing office holders so they’re speaking a little more candidly because there’s no love lost between them and Patrick. Well, add another high-profile GOP individual to the list, former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, a moderate Republican who served at Lt. Governor from 2000-2003, and in the Texas Senate for 12 years before that. Said Ratliff:

“I believe Mike Collier’s background as a businessman and energy professional makes him the best candidate to help return the Texas Senate to that principle. Members of the Senate should be free to vote their district without fear of retribution or retaliation from the Lt. Governor and all 31 Senators should have a voice for their constituents.

When I ran for office, I had support from both sides of the aisle because the people of East Texas voted for the man, not the party. As a former elected Republican, I’m putting partisanship aside and joining the growing number of Republicans voting for the man we think is best for Texas, and that’s Mike Collier.”

 

Three national handicappers revised their ratings in A Texas competitive congressional race, Laredo’s CD 28

Two of the most respected political handicappers, the venerable Cook Political Report and the oddsmaker data nerds at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, as well as a political compiling outfit, 270 to Win, have all upgraded the chances that incumbent U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, will retain his seat.

It’s one of three the GOP have targeted in South Texas.  The other two are CD 15 and CD 34 noted in our competitive race list further below. 

Said Cook, “Republicans probably missed their best opportunity to flip this Biden +7 seat when Cuellar — a conservative Blue Dog who’s one of the last pro-life Democrats in the House – defeated progressive immigration attorney Jessica Cisneros by 289 votes in the May Democratic runoff. Cuellar’s tough-on-the-border, pro-oil and gas posture fits this culturally conservative border seat well and makes it tough for Republicans to lump him together with Beto O’Rourke or Joe Biden. Make no mistake: this is still a competitive race. But in 2020, Cuellar won reelection 58%-39%, overperforming Biden’s margin by 15 points.” 

The folks at FiveThirtyEight, have also upgraded their rating in the Texas gubernatorial contest, giving incumbent Abbott a better chance of defeating challenger O’Rourke.

 

Updated Sept. 16 (Governor), Sept 21 (U.S. House)   

Cook Political Report

House

Governor

RATING STRUCTURE

Solid D, Likely D, Lean D, Toss Up, Lean R, Likely R, Solid R

CD 15

Open Seat

Lean R

CD 28

Cuellar

Lean D (Was “Toss Up”)

CD 34

Open Seat

Lean D 

Governor

Abbott

Likely R

                                                                              

Updated Sept 22 (Governor), Sept 22 (U.S. House)   

270 to Win

House

Governor

RATING STRUCTURE

Safe D, Likely D, Lean D, Tilt D, Toss Up, Tilt R, Lean R, Likely R, Safe R

CD 15

Open Seat

Lean R

CD 28

Cuellar

Lean D (Was “Tilt D”)

CD 34

Flores

Lean D

Governor

Abbott

Likely R