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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

UH/TSU Poll: Abbott, Patrick, Paxton Hold Steady Leads

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leads Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke among likely voters, 49%-42%, according to a new Univ. of Houston/Texas Southern Univ. poll. Abbott’s lead climbs to 12 points among “almost certain voters,” continuing a trend we’ve observed in polls of Democratic challengers losing ground as the likelihood of voting increases. Abbott also clears 50% among “almost certain voters” (53%-41%).

Among “likely voters,” Abbott leads O’Rourke among independents, 47%-25%, with 23% undecided. Abbott leads among Anglo voters (61%-32%), older voters (61%-33%), voters with a high school or less education (58%-37%), men (55%-37%), voters with a 2-year degree or some college (51%-38%) and Gen X voters (51%-40%). O’Rourke leads among Black voters (72%-15%), Millennials (55%-34%), Gen Z voters (54%-31%) and Hispanic/Latino voters (53%-38%). They are tied among women, 45%-45%, and O’Rourke has a 47%-44% lead among voters with a 4-year degree or more, well within that subsample’s margin of error.

Nearly identical to Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) leads Democratic challenger Mike Collier, 49%-43%, among “likely voters.” His lead increases to 53%-42% among “almost certain voters.” The demographic splits are for the most part within a point or two of the Abbott-O’Rourke numbers. Patrick’s lead among independents (45%-28%) is a bit narrower than Abbott’s advantage.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Election Season Is Officially Over for More Than a Third of Legislative Seats

Candidates running for more than one-third of Texas legislative seats have been declared elected by the Secretary of State because they are officially unopposed in the general election.

Nearly all of the unopposed candidates are incumbents, but five members-elect have also been declared elected:

  • Sen.-elect Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • Sen.-elect Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville)
  • Sen.-elect Kevin Sparks (R-Midland)
  • Rep.-elect Charles Cunningham (R-Humble); and
  • Rep.-elect Carl Tepper (R-Lubbock).

The list of “declared electeds” includes nearly 200 district judges and 44 district attorneys. The list excludes hundreds of county office candidates who face no opposition in the general election. In at least 117 counties, none of the county-level offices are contested.

GOV (Likely R): Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) campaign released a new Spanish-language ad, “Familia,” that continues his biographical advertising theme.

Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke is scheduled to resume in-person campaign events on Friday following his recuperation from a bacterial infection.

O’Rourke’s campaign has agreed to a Sept. 30 debate in the Rio Grande Valley, which is the only debate the Abbott campaign said it would accept.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

High Court Rebuffs Latest Effort to Boot Libertarians from Ballot

For the second consecutive election cycle, the Texas Supreme Court ruled against Republican candidates’ efforts to remove Libertarian candidates from the general election ballot. Once again, the Court determined the plaintiffs filed too late.

The lawsuit was filed on August 8 – 18 days before the statutory deadline to remove a candidate’s name from the ballot – seeking a declaration that nearly two dozen Libertarian candidates for state and federal office were ineligible because they had not paid a filing fee or submitted signatures in lieu of a filing fee (That requirement remains the subject of a pending legal challenge by the Libertarian Party.).

Under the plaintiffs’ legal theory, the Libertarian candidates became ineligible when they were nominated in April, yet “nearly four months passed between the facts giving rise to the relators’ claims and the filing of this mandamus action,” the Court noted in its per curiam opinion. “When the emergency timeframe is entirely the product of avoidable delay in bringing the matter to the courts, our precedent is clear that judicial relief altering the conduct of an election is disfavored.”

A similar lawsuit was filed in 2020 after the deadline to remove candidates from the ballot and was similarly rejected for being non-timely.

As in 2020, the Court did not address the merits of the claim. “We do not suggest that the relief the relators seek would or would not have been appropriate had the petition been filed more speedily.”

GOV (Likely R): Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) campaign released a new ad, “Securing the Future of Texas,” this time featuring Abbott providing a bit of his biography.

Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke was hospitalized with a bacterial infection and has canceled several campaign events while he recuperates in El Paso.

LTGOV (Lean R): Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s (R) campaign announced a statewide bus tour that would include 131 stops.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

Certified Write-in Candidates Complete November Matchups

The filing deadline has passed for the last set of candidates to make the general election ballot, except their names won’t actually be on it. Seven candidates qualified as certified write-in candidates for statewide and congressional offices:

  • GOV: Leander consultant Jacqueline Abernathy and Houston business owner Mark Goloby
  • LAND: College Station rancher Carrie Menger
  • CD20: San Antonio immigration attorney Adam Jonasz
  • CD22: Katy marketing consultant Jim Squires
  • CD30: Ovilla nurse Debbie Walker; and
  • CD37: Sherri Lynn Taylor

These candidates will not appear on the ballot, but any votes they receive will be counted. Our Crib Sheets have not yet been updated with these candidates but will be later this week.

SD19 (Likely D): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed Republican challenger and former Del Rio Mayor Robert Garza (R) over Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio). As of June 30, Garza had not reported any contributions, had no cash on hand and had spent less than $2K.

SD27 open (Lean D): Gov. Greg Abbott (R) endorsed Adam Hinojosa (R).

Austin: Seven candidates filed to succeed term-limited Mayor Steve Adler including former Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin), himself a former mayor; Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin); and 2020 council candidate Jennifer Virden, who lost a runoff to Alison Alter by fewer than 600 votes.

Council members Paige Ellis and Natasha Harper-Madison each drew three challengers. At least six candidates filed for each of the three open seats.

Council member Chito Vela endorsed Israel.

White Resigns, Abbott Releases 1st General Election Ad

Rep. James White (R-Hillister) has resigned to become executive director of the Texas Funeral Services Comm. Redistricting shifted the district west of Austin, and White, who was paired with Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), did not seek re-election.

If Gov. Greg Abbott (R) orders a special election to fill his unexpired term, it would likely coincide with the November general election and be run in HD19 as it has been configured for the past decade. The winner of such an election would serve only until January.

GOV (Likely R): Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) campaign released its first general election ad, “Hard Work, Perseverance, Family.” First Lady Cecilia Abbott describes how her husband’s recovery from his paralyzing injury shaped his work ethic and love for his adopted daughter Audrey.

Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke’s campaign is expected to go up on TV this week.

AG (Lean R): Former President Trump is hosting a fundraiser for Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) at his Bedminster resort on Sept. 1.

CD34 (Lean D): The Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek reported U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-McAllen) and his wife claimed homestead exemptions on two residential properties from 2014 to 2021, saving the couple several thousand dollars in property taxes. Gonzalez called it an “oversight” that was “voluntarily corrected” last October.

Abbott by 7 in New DMN/UTT Poll

Gov. Greg Abbott (R) maintains his single-digit – but outside the margin of error – lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke (D), according to a new Dallas Morning News/Univ. of Tyler poll.

Abbott leads O’Rourke, 46%-39%, with 13% of respondents split among Libertarian Mark Tippetts (3%), Green Party candidate Delilah Barrios (3%) and “someone else” (6%). Historically, minor party candidates combined receive 3% or less of the vote in gubernatorial contests.

The bulk of support for Tippetts, Barrios and “someone else” comes from independent voters, who otherwise favor O’Rourke, 34%-31%, over Abbott. When combined with “don’t know” (4%), “Someone else” (18%), Tippetts (5%) and Barrios (5%) combine for 35% among independent voters, more than either major party candidate.

Subscribers can read the rest of this report.

©2022 Texas Election Source LLC

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