Texas voters are not yet ready for a change in the Governor’s mansion.
That’s according to a Quinnipiac University poll of Texas voters released Wednesday. It shows incumbent Governor Greg Abbott (R.) with a sizeable 15-point lead over prospective challenger Beto O’Rourke (D.). It also found that 60 percent of voters say Greg Abbott would handle gun policy better, while only 33 percent said the same of O’Rourke.
The poll results come just one month after O’Rourke announced his intent to run for Governor of Texas. It also comes about a year after he declared he would confiscate popular rifles if elected president during his failed run for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said at a Democratic primary debate for the 2020 presidential nomination. “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
While some observers predicted he would have to walk back his confiscation declaration in order to be competitive in a state like Texas, he has instead chosen to double down on his controversial stance in recent weeks. Texas voters appear to have rejected that message, at least in this early poll of the race.
While O’Rourke has attempted to cast his opponent as an extremist for his approach to gun policy, Texas voters across nearly every demographic appear to disagree. Along partisan lines, 94 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Independents prefer Abbott over O’Rourke on gun policy, while only 17 percent of Democrats said the same.
Nearly two-thirds of all men and 54 percent of all women said they prefer Abbott, as did majorities of voters among every single age bracket. The only demographic of Texas voters that did not say they preferred the current Governor on gun policy were black voters, 72 percent of whom said they thought O’Rourke would do a better job on the issue.
When asked what the most important issues facing Texas were, the top three responses from voters were the handling of the Mexican border (33 percent), the economy (11 percent), and abortion (9 percent).
“In the swirl of worries Texas faces from abortion to COVID-19 to the economy, far and away, nothing is of more concern than that 1,254-mile line of demarcation between Mexico and the Lone Star State and all the issues that come with it,” Tim Malloy, a Quinnipiac Polling Analyst, said.
Abbott enjoyed sizeable leads on the border and the economy, with more than 58 percent of voters saying he would do a better job on each. On the issue of abortion, Abbott again led his opponent with 49 percent of voters compared to 41 percent who preferred O’Rourke on the issue.
Texas voters continue to have a favorable opinion of Governor Greg Abbott overall. 52 percent of respondents said they have a favorable view of him compared with 42 percent who do not. Meanwhile, only 36 percent of voters said they have a favorable opinion of O’Rourke, while 47 percent do not.
The poll was conducted among 1,224 registered Texas voters from December 2nd-December 6th. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.