Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott does not appear to be faring well politically in his home state, according to a new poll. In the survey, which was conducted by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, just 45 percent of respondents indicated that they approved of the Texas governor’s job performance, while a full 54 percent of respondents indicated that they disapproved. That’s a dramatic turn of events for Abbott, who enjoyed approval just prior to the pandemic at a full 59 percent. He’s up for re-election next year, and these latest numbers suggest that he may be in for a tough slog.
Notably, Abbott’s approval among independents has fallen even more dramatically than the 14 percentage point drop recorded in his approval among the general population. As the Morning News explains it, “Abbott’s approval among independents has dropped from 53% early last year to just 30% in the new poll — a perilous low.” That’s a drop-off of a full 23 percent in his support among independents, which seems sure to sound rhetorical alarms within Abbott’s circles.
Poll numbers are now available from the Morning News that show potential challengers including actor Matthew McConaughey and former state legislator Beto O’Rourke making progress against Abbott in hypothetical match-ups. In July, Abbott garnered 45 percent of the support in a question pitting him against O’Rourke, compared to just 33 percent brought in by the prominent Democrat — but now, Abbott has 42 percent of the support compared to 37 percent for O’Rourke, placing the potential challengers significantly closer. Meanwhile, the new Dallas Morning News survey shows McConaughey with a nine percent lead over Abbott in a theoretical contest between the two of them, although he came in one percent behind Abbott in a July poll. Now, he has 44 percent of the support, with 35 percent for Abbott.
The Texas governor has faced stark criticisms over his reckless handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which he’s often focused on ambitions like fighting the imposition of mask mandates in schools instead of tamping down the virus through common-sense safety measures. Abbott has also occupied himself amid the pandemic with pushing un-related extremist measures like a ban on most abortions after some six weeks of pregnancy and new election restrictions that don’t respond to documented, systematic election integrity problems — since such problems don’t presently exist in the U.S. — but do make voting more difficult.