Beto O’Rourke, the former Congressman running as the Democratic nominee for governor in Texas and hoping to unseat incumbent Republican Greg Abbott, is barely a margin of error behind Abbott in a new survey.
The poll was conducted by Beacon Research for the Democratic Policy Institute, which is a nonprofit organization. It showed Abbott, who has faced criticism for his positions on gun policy and abortion, with 48 percent, while O’Rourke nabbed 45 percent. The margin of error for the poll was 2.8 percent, reflecting the potential for variation from the reported data, which reflects the opinions of registered voters. In 2018, Abbott won re-election to a second term by a margin of over 13 percent, so something close to what this poll shows would constitute a dramatic shift. Other polling in the Texas governor’s race shows Abbott with a larger lead. A YouGov poll conducted for The Texas Tribune and the University of Texas found Abbott’s lead in the double digits, although most recent surveys have him up by less.
Abbott and O’Rourke already faced each other for a debate, where they discussed issues including guns and reproductive rights. O’Rourke criticized Abbott for not having called a special legislative session to deal with gun policy issues amid renewed pushes for action. The governor has helped enact legislation meaning Texans can now carry handguns without a permit, eliminating potentially critical oversight of those wielding firearms. Certain figures in law enforcement expressed serious concerns about that policy decision, which Georgia officials have also made, and which has come up in that state’s governor’s race putting incumbent Republican Brian Kemp against Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams, a former state legislative leader and current voting rights activist who ran against Kemp four years ago. In a recent MSNBC interview, Abrams criticized Kemp for prioritizing the interests of investors in dealing with local housing prices.
Kemp “has said that he doesn’t want to upset investors by giving local governments control over helping control housing prices,” as Abrams said. “I want to make sure they have the help they need.” As for the Texas race, respondents in the Beacon Research poll cited a variety of policy concerns as a priority, without any single issue taking a commanding lead. Immigration and border security topped the list with 22 percent prioritizing the concern, while 16 percent picked abortion, and 13 percent selected gun policy and school safety. The shooter who attacked an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, this year used a rifle he legally obtained in the assault, suggesting changing the legal framework around these highly dangerous weapons could have prevented the incident from occurring — no matter how much people like Ted Cruz want to complain about doors or suggest more police (many of whom were already there, without anybody directly confronting the gunman for over an hour) are the answer.