Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke hopes to defeat Texas incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott, but with 100 days until the midterm election in November, polls show the former congressman facing an uphill battle.
O’Rourke, who served as a representative for Texas’ 16th District from 2013 to 2019, significantly increased his national profile by unsuccessfully running against GOP Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. He went on to launch an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic Party‘s 2020 presidential nomination as well, before ultimately endorsing President Joe Biden. Now, the former congressman hopes to become the first Democrat to lead Texas as governor since 1995.
Although the Democratic contender set a massive new fundraising record, raking in $27.63 million from late February through June, polls still show him trailing Abbott by several points. The current Real Clear Politics average of Texas polls shows the incumbent Republican governor ahead by about 6 points. On average, Abbott is backed by 47.8 percent of Texans and O’Rourke is supported by 41.8 percent.
Polling by University of Houston/YouGov from June 27 to July 7 showed O’Rourke trailing by 5 points. The Democratic candidate had support from 44 percent of likely voters and Abbot had the backing of 49 percent. The poll included 1,169 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent.
A previous poll conducted by The Texas Tribune with the University of Texas at Austin showed the incumbent governor ahead by 6 points. Abbott was backed by 45 percent of registered voters compared to 39 percent for O’Rourke. The survey included 1,200 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 points.
Another recent survey by CBS News/YouGov carried out from June 22 to 27 showed O’Rourke behind by 8 points. Abbott had the backing of 49 percent of likely voters and O’Rourke had the support of just 41 percent. That survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 points among 1,075 likely Texas voters.
The current FiveThirtyEight forecast for the Texas governor’s race gives Abbott a 95 in 100 chance of winning. Comparatively, O’Rourke just has a 5 in 100 chance—with the forecast predicting the incumbent Republican will garner about 54.4 percent of the vote and the Democrat will win just 41.7 percent.
Meanwhile, in a potentially favorable sign for O’Rourke, Abbott’s approval rating is currently underwater. Tracking poll data by The Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin shows more Texans disapprove (46 percent) of their current governor than approve (43 percent). That’s a 5 point increase in disapproval from April, when just 41 percent said they disapproved of the Republican governor.
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