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Texas Election Source provides frequent, insightful updates to our subscribers about the state of elections in Texas. We track more than 600 candidates for statewide office, Congress and the Texas Legislature. We also follow special elections, important local elections and constitutional amendment elections. If you’re interested in Texas politics, then let Texas Election Source be your guide to the ballot box.

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Recently Posted News & Analysis

Court Denies Rehearing in Paxton’s Quest for Election Code Prosecutions

The Court of Criminal Appeals again held that Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton’s (R) office has no authority to prosecute Election Code crimes when it denied his motion for rehearing. In December, the court struck down a new law enabling Paxton’s office to prosecute election law cases without the consent of the local district attorney, who has jurisdiction over such prosecutions.

Paxton tweeted the timing of the all-Republican court’s decision “is no accident – this is devastating for the integrity of our upcoming elections.”

The ruling came without further explanation. Judge Scott Walker (R) filed a concurring opinion. Two judges – Michelle Slaughter (R) and Kevin Yeary (R) – issued dissents.

Walker wrote “one of the possible ramifications” of giving Paxton’s office the power to prosecute election crimes would give any future AG “the unfettered power … to bring possibly fabricated criminal charges against every candidate running for public office in the State of Texas who disagrees with the attorney general’s political ideals.” Further, Walker reasoned, the power to prosecute crimes constitutionally resides solely within the judicial branch of government. “As a part of the executive department, the attorney general cannot exercise a power – prosecuting crimes – that belongs to the judicial branch.”

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

2 New Polls’ Hispanic/Latino Voter Preferences Clash

Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke trails Gov. Greg Abbott, 50%-42%, according to a new Emerson Coll. poll. Independents favor Abbott, 44%-37%. The candidates have nearly equal but opposite favorability ratings: Abbott 55/43, O’Rourke 44/52.

Abbott leads O’Rourke among Hispanic/Latino voters, 46%-41%, a finding that runs counter to other recent polls, including a new Telemundo poll of Hispanic/Latino voters. That poll found O’Rourke leading Abbott, 54%-31%, among Hispanic/Latino voters.

LTGOV (Lean R): The Mike Collier (D) campaign released a new ad, “Stand Up to the Extremes,” in which he promises to “stand up to both parties if they’re soft on crime or securing the border.”

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Poll: Republicans Lead Statewide Races by 5-8 Points

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leads Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, 51%-44%, among likely voters, according to a new Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation poll. His lead increases to 53%-43% among “almost certain voters,” continuing a trend observed in recent polls. More than 90% of each candidate’s supporters said they were certain of their vote choice.

Abbott leads O’Rourke by a greater than 2-to-1 margin among White voters (69%-33%) while O’Rourke leads among Black voters (79%-16%) and Hispanic/Latino voters (53%-39%). Abbott leads among men by 18 points (57%-39%) while O’Rourke has a narrow lead among women (48%-46%). Independents favor Abbott, 54%-26%.

How independents break is rather crucial to O’Rourke’s chances. In his 2018 challenge of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R), O’Rourke received nearly 500K more votes than Democratic gubernatorial nominee Lupe Valdez. Because straight-party votes counted for both, that difference logically had to come from full-ballot voters. O’Rourke received 171K more votes from full-ballot voters than Cruz, but Abbott received 724K more votes from this group than Valdez – a swing of nearly 900K votes. Back-of-the-envelope math suggests between 400K and 500K Texans voted for Abbott and O’Rourke – representing between 24% and 30% of all voters who voted for Abbott that did not do so via straight-party vote.

Of course, O’Rourke was not running against Abbott as he is now, and thus there are no voters who can vote for both this time (Any that do will not have either vote count.).

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Same Song, Different Poll: Abbott by 7

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leads Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, 50%-43%, according to a new Spectrum News/Siena Coll. poll. It finds Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) leading Democratic challenger Mike Collier, 49%-40%, and Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) leading Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza, 47%-42%. These topline results are consistent with nearly all recent polls.

Respondents were almost evenly split on their opinion of Abbott (47/46) but a majority views O’Rourke unfavorably (39/52). Patrick (33/36) and Paxton (29/41) are a little underwater with the respondents, but three quarters of them don’t know enough about Collier (13/12) and Garza (13/12) to have an opinion of them.

This poll’s small sample size (n=651) carries a ±4.4% margin of error. Subsets of the full sample have larger errors, so we are not going to look too closely at them.

GOV (Likely R): Nearly $70M has been committed to advertising in the governor’s race, according to AdImpact Politics, a national tracking firm. Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke has spent $16.9M to date, while Coulda Been Worse PAC has spent $10.4M opposing Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Another $16M has been reserved by O’Rourke and the PAC to date. Abbott has spent $19M and reserved an additional $6M.

LTGOV (Lean R): Former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff (R-Mount Pleasant) endorsed Democratic challenger Mike Collier over Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R). Ratliff previously endorsed Patrick’s 2018 primary challenger Scott Milder.

HD34 (Likely D): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed challenger Carolyn Vaughn (R) over Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown).

HD35 (Likely D): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed challenger Oscar Rosa (R) over Rep. Oscar Longoria (D-Mission).

Realtors’ Endorsements: The Texas Assoc. of Realtors TREPAC released its list of endorsements for the general election. The group endorsed in every statewide and legislative race except for Agriculture Comm., Railroad Comm., the Court of Criminal Appeals and HD116.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

New Poll, Similar Single-digit Lead for Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leads Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, 47%-38%, among registered voters, according to a new Dallas Morning News/Univ. of Texas at Tyler poll. His lead increases slightly to 50%-39% among respondents “certain or probably” voting. These are the largest Abbott leads found by recent polls, but only by a point or two.

Those choices are locked in for more than nine out of 10 people currently supporting a candidate. Among Abbott’s supporters, 79% are “certain” they will not change their mind while another 16% “probably will not.” For O’Rourke, those numbers are 73% and 19%.

Another 6% of “certain or probably” respondents were evenly split among Mark Tippetts (L) and Delilah Barrios (G) – both figures above historical percentages of voters who cast ballots for minor party candidates.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Abbott’s Polling Lead Virtually Unchanged Since May

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leads Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, 45%-40%, according to a new Univ. of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll. This is virtually unchanged from the June poll (45%-39%).

“Virtually unchanged” has been a theme of recent gubernatorial horse race polls’ topline results since May:

  • Abbott +7: Univ. of Houston/Texas Southern Univ. (49%-42%) – Sept (RVs)
  • Abbott +7: Dallas Morning News/Univ. of Texas at Tyler (46%-39%) – Aug (Likely Voters)
  • Abbott +5: Univ. of Houston/Hobby School (47%-42%) – July (RVs)
  • Abbott +8: CBS News (49%-41%) – June (Likely Voters)
  • Abbott +6: Univ. of Texas/Texas Politics Project (45%-39%) – June (RVs)
  • Abbott +5: Quinnipiac Univ. (48%-43%) – June (RVs)
  • Abbott +6: Dallas Morning News/Univ. of Texas at Tyler (46%-39%) – May (RVs)

Abbott has led by at least five points in every poll going back to June 2021 except for a Texas Lyceum poll of RVs in March (+2) and a Rice Univ. poll of RVs last October (+1).

Abbott’s lead has grown typically by 3-5 points as the likelihood of voting has increased, according to the polls that break out results in this manner. The UT poll does not split this out, but 23% of respondents said they voted in “about half” elections “over the past two or three years” or less frequently (or they don’t know how often they voted). Conservatives have a five-point advantage over liberals among people who say they vote in “every election” (44%-39%), and “extremely conservative” voters have a 15-point advantage over “extremely liberal” voters (56%-41%). The extremes are more likely to say they vote in every election than every successive step away from the extremes:

  • 56% of extremely conservative respondents vote in every election
  • 43% of somewhat conservative respondents
  • 32% of lean conservative respondents
  • 28% of moderate respondents
  • 37% of lean liberal respondents
  • 39% of somewhat liberal respondents, and
  • 41% of extremely liberal respondents.

Respondents aged 65 and older are more than twice as likely to say they vote in every election (52%) than respondents under 30 years old (24%). Abbott leads among the first group, 55%-39%, while O’Rourke leads among the youngest group of voters, 45%-28%.

Other notable topline results:

  • Gov. Dan Patrick (R) leads Mike Collier by 7 (39%-32%)
  • Gen. Ken Paxton (R) leads Rochelle Garza by 5 (38%-33%)
  • Generic Republican congressional candidate leads by 4 (47%-43%)
  • A roughly equal number of respondents have favorable opinions of Abbott, Patrick and Paxton as unfavorable opinions
  • President Biden is on balance unpopular (38/53)
  • O’Rourke (41/48) has roughly the same favorability rating as former President Trump (41/50)
  • A majority of respondents do not want either Biden (59%) or Trump (57%) to run again
  • Both major political parties have roughly the same favorability rating, but the Republican Party (41/47) is slightly less disfavored than the Democratic Party (39/49)
  • Respondents are equally split on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, with 44% approving (33% strongly) and 44% disapproving (39% strongly).

The survey of 1,360 registered voters, drawn from an opt-in YouGov panel, was in the field August 26 to September 6. It has a stated margin of error of ±2.83%.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

New PAC Pours $10M into Governor’s Race

A new out-of-state PAC has reserved $10M in statewide advertising time to oppose Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) re-election. According to an FCC filing, issues the Coulda Been Worse PAC’s ads will cover include “AR-15’s everywhere, mass shootings, education system cratering, abortion bans, rising property taxes, border stunt fails [and] power grid mismanagement.” Ads are expected to appear on broadcast outlets as soon as tomorrow (Friday).

Depending on how the PAC is organized and registered, it is possible its donors would not be disclosed until after the election. It is also possible that its donors are entities which do not have to report their donors.

According to a non-candidate advertiser form filed with KHOU-TV in Houston, the PAC is based in Alexandria, Va., with a Michael Waters as executive director. The requesting ad agency is ICON International Inc. out of Greenwich, Conn.

The KHOU buy is for 357 spots between Sept. 9 and Oct. 9 – a $344K expenditure including ad buying firm’s commission. The PAC has reserved at least 267 spots on KSAT-TV – a $229K expenditure.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

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Jeff Blaylock

Jeff Blaylock

Publisher

Jeff is a political junkie, longtime public policy wonk and former Texas Legislature staffer who has worked political campaigns in Texas and several other states, ranging from school boards to legislators to governors to referenda. He is a public and government affairs consultant based in Austin, Texas, who offers his keen insights about Lone Star State politics as Texas Election Source.

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