DALLAS – New polls show most Texans believe the state is going the wrong way and the popularity of Gov. Greg Abbott is falling below 50 percent.
The University of Texas poll in Tyler / Dallas Morning News comes after a summer full of controversial COVID-19 policies enacted by Abbott amid rising cases and conservative legislation driven by the Texas legislature.
54 percent of Texans say the state is on the wrong path, and 44 percent say it is on the right track. Among independents, a group that has historically led the Republican Party in the Texas election, only 33% say the state is on the right track.
Abbott’s pass rating is 45 percent, with his disapproval at 44 percent. Surveys conducted by the university before the pandemic began in March 2020 had 59% Abbott approval.
These numbers show vulnerabilities for Abbott in possible government clashes next fall.
Abbott would now lose a hypothetical showdown with actor Matthew McConaughey by nine points, 44 to 35. A UT Tyler poll two months ago showed Abbott slightly ahead.
Most likely, in light of a report Sunday indicating he is preparing to run, it is a showdown with favorite Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Abbott leads O’Rourke 42-37 according to the poll. But that five-point margin is a drop from Abbott’s twelve-point margin two months ago.
Abbott’s embrace of right-wing causes has isolated him from a serious challenge in next spring’s GOP primaries, according to the poll. He leads more than 40 points in individual clashes with former state Sen. Don Huffines and former Texas GOP President Allen West.
The UT Tyler poll was conducted Sept. 7-14 and polled 1,148 registered voters with a margin of error of (+/-) 2.9 percentage points.
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