- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 16, 2022

Democrat Beto O’Rourke is gaining ground on Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in their Texas gubernatorial showdown following the mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found Mr. Abbott has a 48% to 43% lead over Mr. O’Rourke among registered voters.  

Mr. Abbott had a 52% to 37% lead over Mr. O’Rourke in a December Quinnipiac University poll.

“The race tightens. … Abbott, considered strong on leadership, slips. O’Rourke, considered long on empathy, rides the momentum of support from women and young Texans in the horse race to Austin,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.

Mr. O’Rourke has ratcheted up his calls for more gun control in the wake of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde that left 19 children and two adults dead.

The Democratic challenger also has upped his antics, confronting Mr. Abbott at a post-shooting press conference last month, creating a viral moment that drew the ire of GOP elected officials and praise from gun control activists.

Mr. Abbott is still trusted more than Mr. O’Rourke on issues, the poll finds.

A majority of voters said Mr. Abbott would do a better job of handling the chaos at the Mexican border, the economy and the coronavirus. A plurality of voters said Mr. Abbott also would be better when it comes to election laws, gun policy and abortion.

Republicans backed Mr. Abbott by a 90% to 5% margin, and independents supported him by a 46% to 40% margin. Mr. O’Rourke, meanwhile, wins Democrats by a 96% to 2% margin.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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