AUSTIN, Texas - Attorney General Greg Abbott’s lead has widened over gubernatorial challenger state Sen. Wendy Davis, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
If the election for Texas governor were held today, Abbott would have an 11-point lead over Davis, 47 to 36 percent, with 17 percent undecided. In last November’s poll Abbott had a 6-point lead over Davis, with 25 percent responding as undecided.
When asked if the 2014 election for lieutenant governor were held today, respondents preferred any of the four GOP candidates—including frontrunners David Dewhurst and Dan Patrick—over Democrat Leticia Van de Putte by margins ranging from 9 to 12 points.
The statewide poll, conducted Feb. 7-17, surveyed 1,200 registered Texas voters and had a margin of error of 3.28 percentage points.
“The 11-point gap between Davis and Abbott reflects the underlying fundamentals of party identification in the Texas electorate, where Republicans have consistently enjoyed an advantage for the last decade and a half,” said James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at The University of Texas at Austin and a co-director of the poll. “The early boost to Wendy Davis's candidacy evident in the fall seems to have subsided into a more recognizable Texas pattern, at least at this stage of the campaign.”
When asked about candidate favorability, 36 percent said they had a very or somewhat favorable impression of Davis, with 35 percent indicating somewhat or very unfavorable. Forty-five percent said they had a very or somewhat favorable impression of Abbott, with 25 percent indicating somewhat or very unfavorable.
“Greg Abbott has successfully improved his favorable ratings since our October poll, which helps strengthen an already formidable advantage,” Henson said. “Wendy Davis's favorability ratings have not improved since our last poll in October, but she remains well-liked among Democrats.”
With primary elections drawing near, undecided respondents were induced to choose someone, resulting in a different margin of error, 5.37 percent, for the following races:
• Thirty-eight percent of Republicans polled would vote for David Dewhurst in the primary election for lieutenant governor, with 31 percent favoring Dan Patrick. Sixteen percent said they would vote for Todd Staples, with 14 percent opting for Jerry Patterson. In November’s poll Dewhurst led Patrick 26 percent to 13 percent, with 46 percent undecided.
• The poll also indicates a tight race in the Republican primary election for attorney general, with Dan Branch leading Ken Paxton 42 to 39 percent. Nineteen percent said they would vote for Barry Smitherman.
• In the primary for the U.S. Senate, 60 percent of Republicans polled said they would vote for Sen. John Cornyn. His nearest challenger, Steve Stockman, was second with 16 percent.
“The main story from the Republican primary ballot results is that we are probably looking at run-off elections for lieutenant governor and attorney general,” said poll co-director Daron Shaw, a professor of government at The University of Texas at Austin. “The exceptions are the top of the ballot offices, where both Abbott and Cornyn look very solid.”
This is the latest in a series of online polls conducted by the Texas Politics Project and The Texas Tribune. Comprehensive poll results, information about methodology and the survey dataset will be available at the Texas Politics Project website later this week.