AUSTIN (KXAN) — Early voting is now underway in Texas, and a new poll out Monday shows Gov. Greg Abbott extended his lead with voters over challenger Beto O’Rourke in the governor’s race.
The latest survey conducted by Emerson College, The Hill and the Nexstar Media Group shows Abbott with a 10-percentage point lead over O’Rourke — 52% to 42%. Only 4% told pollsters they were undecided. The last poll conducted by these organizations in September showed Abbott with an advantage of eight-percentage points.
The poll included 1,000 registered Texas voters and happened between Oct. 17 to Oct. 19. Pollsters estimated the margin of error this time at about three percentage points.
“Abbott has a commanding 23-point lead among male voters, whereas O’Rourke holds a three-point lead among women voters,” Spencer Kimball, the executive director of Emerson College Polling, said in a news release Monday.
Last week, the Texas Politics Project released a new poll that showed a similar split between the top two gubernatorial candidates, with Abbott ahead 11 percentage points.
The Republican incumbents in two other statewide races had narrower leads over their Democratic challengers, according to this new poll.
The polling breakdown in the Texas attorney general’s race showed Ken Paxton capturing 47% of support compared to 42% for Democrat Rochelle Garza, a lead of five percentage points.
Dan Patrick is also five percentage points ahead of Mike Collier in the lieutenant governor’s race, 47% to 42%.
Most important issues
Pollsters asked Texas voters which issues are the most important to them related to this election. According to their findings, the economy (45%) is chief among their concerns followed by health care (11%), abortion access (11%), threats to democracy (10%) and immigration (9%).
The poll delved into how people felt about Abbott’s program to bus migrants awaiting their asylum hearings to other cities outside the state.
A majority (53%) said they supported the busing program, while 36% opposed it. Meanwhile, 10% said they were unsure about it or expressed no opinion.
Even more Texans, though, said they supported the idea of allowing abortion for victims of rape or incest. The findings showed 67% favored these exceptions, while only 15% opposed their legality in these cases. The poll found 17% of the respondents felt unsure or had no opinion about this issue.
“A majority of all political parties think abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest,” Kimball said, “including 81% of Democrats, 75% of independents, and 51% of Republicans.”