- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott leads Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke by 8 points in a gubernatorial race survey released six weeks before the election.

The Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey said Tuesday the Republican incumbent drew 50% of likely voters compared to 42% for Mr. O’Rourke, a former congressman who ran for Senate in 2018 and sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Mr. Abbott’s lead has grown from 7 points in February to 8 points. He is buoyed by wide support among white voters, who prefer him over Mr. O’Rourke 60% to 35%, and an edge among Hispanic voters, 46% to 42%.

“By contrast, Black voters prefer O’Rourke over Abbott 78% to 12%,” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling.

The survey found that 55% of voters have a favorable view of Mr. Abbott and 43% hold a negative view of him, while Mr. O’Rourke is underwater at 44% favorable and 52% negative.

The pollsters said 63% of voters expect Mr. Abbott to win while only 37% predict an O’Rourke victory.

The race between the Texans rose to prominence in the wake of the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, with Mr. O’Rourke personally confronting the governor over a lack of action on gun safety shortly after the May tragedy.

Also of note, Mr. Abbott has been sending migrants who show up in Texas to Northeast cities, saying they should share in efforts to absorb the influx at the border.

Pollsters said the governor comes out on top on border security, with 58% supporting Mr. Abbott on the issue versus 39% for Mr. O’Rourke.

Voters say the economy is the top issue for them, however. Forty percent of voters cite it as the top issue followed by abortion access (16%), immigration (12%) and health care (8%).

Democrats are using the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as a cudgel against Republicans but 49% percent of voters align with Mr. Abbott on the abortion issue while 44% align with Mr. O’Rourke, the poll found.

The survey was conducted among 1,000 very likely voters from Sept. 20-22 with a margin of error of 3.02 percentage points.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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