Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Beto O’Rourke (D) comfortably leads their primary challengers and appears poised to win their respective nominations outright, according to the a pair of polls released this weekend.

Abbott has the support of 58% of “all primary voters” and 62% of “almost certain primary voters” according to a new Univ. of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs poll (PDF). Those figures are almost identical in a new Dallas Morning News/Univ. of Texas at Tyler poll (pdf): 59% of “total voters” and 63% of “certain voters.” O’Rourke is favored by 73% of all primary voters and 82% of “almost certain” voters in the Hobby poll and a less resounding 58% and 64% in the UT-Tyler poll.

Abbott would prevail, 48%-43%, over O’Rourke in the general election according to the Hobby poll and 47%-36% according to the UT-Tyler poll.

Hobby Poll Toplines

In the gubernatorial primary, Former Florida congressman and Texas Republican Party chair Allen West is a distant second at 11% among all primary voters and 14% among “almost certain” voters, followed by former Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas) at 7% in each group. About one in six primary voters is undecided, as are about one in eight “almost certain” primary voters. Slightly more than 10% of each “would never consider voting” for Abbott.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) also appears poised to win outright with the support of 52% of all primary voters and 61% of “almost certain” primary voters. No other candidate reached 5% support in either group, but about a third are undecided.

Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) has a better than 20-point lead on any single rival but is poised to face one of them in a runoff. Paxton is supported by 39% of all primary voters and 44% of “almost certain” voters. U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) and Land Comm. George P. Bush (R) trade places for second among each group. Bush leads, 16%-13%, among all voters while Gohmert leads, 15%-13%, among “almost certain” voters, within the margin of error in both cases. About a quarter of voters are undecided, but the poll found 40% of all voters and 37% of “almost certain” voters would “never consider voting” for Bush, which would theoretically make him Paxton’s preferred runoff opponent. The other three candidates hover between 11% and 16% in this regard.

Outside of these races, “Don’t know/Unsure” is the clubhouse leader for the other statewide offices polled among “almost certain” primary voters:

  • LTGOV (D): Don’t Know/Unsure 58%, Mike Collier 24%, Carla Brailey 10%, Michelle Beckley 8%
  • AG (D): Don’t Know/Unsure 60%, Rochelle Garza 14%, Joe Jaworski 12%
  • COMP (R): Don’t Know/Unsure 61%, Glenn Hegar 34%, Mark Goloby 5%
  • COMP (D): Don’t Know/Unsure 66%, Ángel Luis Vega 18%, Janet Dudding 10%
  • LAND (R): Don’t Know/Unsure 84%, Dawn Buckingham 5%, no one else over 3%
  • LAND (D): Don’t Know/Unsure 67%, Sandragrace Martinez 18%, Michael Lange 6%
  • AGRIC (R): Don’t Know/Unsure 53%, Sid Miller 41%, James White 5%
  • AGRIC (D): Don’t Know/Unsure 67%, Susan Hays 28%, Ed Ireson 5%; and
  • RRC (R): Don’t Know/Unsure 76%, Wayne Christian 10%, Sarah Stogner 5%.

Even those incumbents polling well south of 50% can take solace in the fact that none of their opponents appear to have a significant level of support, and they need a huge proportion of undecided voters to break their way.

The online survey of 1,400 registered voters was conducted in English and Spanish and was in the field January 14-24. The full sample has a margin of error of ±2.2% with larger errors for each primary race.

UT-Tyler Poll Toplines

Most of the results mirror the Hobby poll with some movement among the candidates polling below 20%. Patrick sits at 50% among “certain” voters, but no other named candidate exceeds 2% among that group. Paxton is the preferred choice of 38% of “certain” voters followed by Bush (17%), Gohmert (10%) and Guzman (6%).

Other polled races break down as follows:

  • LTGOV (D): Not Sure 54%, Beckley 18%, Collier 13%, Brailey 11%
  • AG (D): Not Sure 58%, Jaworski 11%, Garza 10%
  • AGRIC (R): Not Sure 62%, Miller 28%, White 6%

Asked which party’s generic candidate they would support for Texas House, 54% said the Republican and 44% said the Democrat. Independents prefer Republicans by a 54%-39% margin. Women prefer Republicans by a narrower margin, 52%-46%, which would represent a flip from the last two election cycles.

As one would expect, President Biden’s overall job performance rating is underwater at 41/55 with about 2 out of every 5 responds “strongly” disapproving of his job performance. Three quarters of Republicans strongly disapprove while only 42% of Democrats strongly approve. Independents are unfavorable on balance, 33/57 with 10% strongly approving and 39% strongly disapproving.

Abbott fares better with an overall job performance rating of 51/45. Four out of 5 Republicans view his performance favorably, evenly split between “strongly approve” and “approve.” Independents view him unfavorably on balance but better than Biden: 38% of independents approve (8% strongly) while 54% disapprove (36% strongly).

Unsurprisingly, Republicans have a dim view of Biden’s handling of immigration with 14% approving and 83% disapproving (73% strongly). One in five independents approves, and 59% disapprove (39% strongly). Republicans have a generally positive view of Abbott’s handling of immigration – 80% approve (43% strongly) and 15% disapprove. Independents are slightly negative on balance with 38% approving (13% strongly) and 45% disapproving (28% strongly).

  • 60% of Republicans believe the state’s spending “$20 million per mile” to extend the border wall is “reasonable,” as to 27% of independents and 14% of Democrats.
  • 81% of Republicans support using state funds to deploy the National Guard at the border compared to 44% of independents and 27% of Democrats.

By a 65%-29% margin, Republicans say “secure the Texas-Mexico border” is a higher priority than “strengthen the electricity grid.” Among independents, 51% place a higher priority on the grid than border security (37%). Similarly, Republicans place border security above “reduce coronavirus infections” by a wider margin, 70%-26%. Independents place the higher priority on the pandemic, 53%-37%, over border security.

The poll of 1,082 registered voters was in the field January 18-25 and has a margin of error of ±3.0% for the full sample.

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