A new poll found Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, R, has widened his lead over his challenger Beto O’Rourke, D. The Spectrum News-Siena College Poll revealed Abbott leads O’Rourke 50% – 43% in the race for governor.
According to the poll, nearly all Republicans and Democrats in the state are supporting their party’s candidate, while Independents favor Abbott by 1 point.
The expanded lead for Abbott is partially driven by voters’ priorities.
“Economic issues are by far the dominant election issues for all voters. Republicans overwhelmingly put economic issues in the top spot, and say immigration is the second most important issue affecting their vote. Among Democrats the economy is tied with ‘threats to democracy’ and abortion is a close third. Independents say the economy most followed by ‘threats to democracy’ and immigration,” Don Levy, Siena College Research Institute Director, said.
Immigration was the second biggest priority, and Abbott also has the advantage there. Texans support Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, which puts National Guard troops on the border, 58%-35%. In addition, a majority of Texans support bussing migrants to big cities outside the state, 52-40%.
Texas voters better align with O’Rourke’s views on abortion, but it’s fourth on their list of priorities. The poll found 55% oppose the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, and 64% oppose Texas’ new abortion law championed by Abbott.
O’Rourke is also basing a lot of his campaign on gun violence in the wake of the Uvalde mass shooting in which 19 children and 2 adults were killed at Robb Elementary School. Texas voters have diverse views on the Second Amendment. O’Rourke’s views better align with the 85% of Texas voters who support universal background checks, but 53% support arming teachers in schools, a proposal Abbott has advocated for.
As for the future of Texas. 47% say the state is headed in the wrong direction, 43% say it’s on the right track.