Early voting for the May 1 general and special elections begins tomorrow (Monday) and runs through April 27.

UT-Tyler Poll: Two out of every seven registered voters “believe there is widespread voter fraud in Texas,” while a slim majority believe “there is not,” according to a new Dallas Morning News/UT-Tyler poll (PDF). Nearly twice as many Republicans (39%) believe there is widespread voter fraud than independents (20%) or Democrats (21%), and slightly more Republicans believe there is widespread voter fraud (39%) than don’t (36%). More than half of independents and 70% of Democrats do not believe voter fraud is widespread in Texas.

Three out of five respondents supported “the addition of requirements beyond signature verification of absentee ballots … to increase election integrity,” including 84% of Republicans, 52% of independents and 39% of Democrats. No specific additional requirement was polled. A plurality (41%) supported limiting the hours a county could operate early voting locations, including 58% of Republicans, 33% of independents and 30% of Democrats.

The question gaining more attention is a theoretical horse race. Actor Matthew McConaughey, absent a party label or policy positions on nearly every issue, receives more “support” than Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in a theoretical matchup, 45%-33%. Somewhat surprisingly, 30% of Republicans “would vote for” McConaughey, and the actor leads among independents, 44%-28%. Obviously, not much should be read into these “head-to-head” numbers, but it shows at least some level of willingness for voters who supported Abbott in the past to consider someone else.

Asked a different way, 47% of Republicans said they would vote for Abbott in the primary with 20% preferring a “more centrist Republican,” 14% preferring a “more conservative” candidate and 18% preferring “someone more like Donald Trump.” Abbott received 54% support from self-identified “conservative” voters and 58% from “evangelical” voters.

More instructive are the job approval and favorability ratings:

  • President Biden job approval rating – 48/41 (26/26 strongly)
  • Greg Abbott (R) job approval – 50/36 (21/20 strongly)
  • Gov. Dan Patrick (R) job approval – 37/26 (16/17 strongly)
  • Gen. Ken Paxton (R) job approval – 37/26 (15/16 strongly)
  • S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) favorability rating – 42/24 (18/11 very)
  • S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) favorability – 44/42 (21/33 very)
  • Beto O’Rourke (D) favorability – 35/37 (16/30 very)

Biden received generally low marks for his “handling immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border” with 30% approving and 52% disapproving (37% strongly). Among independents, 18% approved and 55% disapproved (35% strongly).

The poll of 1,126 registered voters was conducted online and by phone and was in the field April 6-13. It has a ±2.9% margin of error for the full sample.

Other News

CD6 special: Candidates’ pre-general campaign finance reports are due tomorrow (Monday). These reports disclose contributions received and expenditures made between January 1 and April 11. These reports are being filed in lieu of April quarterly reports, which were due for all other federal candidates and officeholders last week.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram endorsed Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie).

Club for Growth Action PAC has stepped up its attacks on Ellzey. The group reported an additional $110K in advertising expenditures opposing him.

Dallas: The Dallas Morning News endorsed council member Jaime Resendez for re-election and Donnell Willis for an open council seat.

Fort Worth: The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Fort Worth Fire Professionals Assoc. endorsed Mattie Parker for mayor.

The city secretary’s office determined that District 9 council candidate Erik Richerson is ineligible because of a past felony conviction in another state. Darien George, another candidate for the same seat, withdrew earlier this week after directing profanity at another candidate in a forum. Seven other candidates remain in this open seat race.

San Antonio: The San Antonio Express-News endorsed Mayor Ron Nirenberg for re-election.

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