Gov. Greg Abbott (R) leads Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke by 5 points among “likely voters,” growing to 8 points among “almost certain voters,” according to a new Univ. of Houston/Hobby School of Public Affairs poll. Abbott leads O’Rourke, 49%-44%, among “likely voters,” the measuring stick used by most pollsters.

Abbott’s lead increases to 51%-43% among “almost certain voters,” which are respondents who indicated they were “almost certain” to vote in November. The findings continue to demonstrate a long-standing tendency for “almost certain” voters to be slightly more Republican on balance than “likely voters,” which tend to be more Republican on balance than registered voters.

Those high polling numbers also confirm that most voters have already made up their minds. The poll found just one in 10 registered voters and one in 20 likely and “almost certain” voters remain undecided. Just 5% of Abbott and 8% of O’Rourke’s supporters “might change their mind” between now and November.

A 51%-43% outcome in the governor’s race would closely mirror the outcomes of the statewide contests in 2020, which were clustered around 53%-44%, aside from the presidential contest, which was 52%-46%. Before single-punch, straight-party voting ended in 2020, it suggested a highly partisan electorate that often refused to consider, let alone vote for, a candidate of the other party. It appears that has not changed and perhaps has even intensified – at least, that is one interpretation of these and other recent polling results.

Looking at “likely voters,” Abbott has big leads among Anglo voters (60%-33%), men (56%-38%), boomer/silent generation voters (57%-39%) and, crucially, independents (48%-32%). O’Rourke leads among Black voters (80%-8%), millennial/Gen-Z voters (51%-36%), Hispanic/Latino voters (51%-42%) and women (49%-43%).

Other horserace results are as follows:

  • Gov. Dan Patrick (R) leads Mike Collier (D),48%-43%, among likely voters and 50%-42% among almost certain voters
  • Gen. Ken Paxton (R) leads Rochelle Garza (D), 46%-41%, among likely voters and 49%-40% among almost certain voters; and
  • Republicans lead the generic congressional ballot, 49%-43%, among likely voters and 51%-41% among almost certain voters.

As one would expect from a fairly evenly divided and hotly partisan electorate, most favorability ratings were about even, and strongly unfavorable ratings are across the board higher than strongly favorable ones:

  • Abbott 49/47 (27/38 “strongly”)
  • Former President Trump 48/51 (25/44)
  • U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz 47/49 (25/40)
  • O’Rourke 44/49 (25/42)
  • Paxton 41/40 (20/31)
  • President Biden 41/58 (17/50)
  • Vice President Harris 36/60 (15/49)
  • U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 32/61 (13/50); and
  • U.S. Sen. John Cornyn 28/54 (7/32).

Cornyn’s rating is hurt by his standing among Republicans, who are split 43/43 (12/20 “strongly”).

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