Texas Poll: Signs Point to GOP Midterm Domination in State

There was some talk in recent elections cycles that Democrats might have been able to turn the biggest red state purple, but signs are pointing to Republican-dominated midterms, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

The poll analysis found Republican incumbents squarely in command of their districts, while Democrat challengers are struggling to reach name recognition among voters.

Democrats have not won a statewide race in Texas since 1994, although they came clase when President Joe Biden’s gun-control advocate Beto O’Rourke put a scare in Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018. Former President Donald Trump won the state by 5.6 percentage points in 2020 and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, won the other Senate reelection by 10 points, while Republicans held off well-financed Democrat challengers in the state legislature.

Texas state Democrats notoriously went AWOL during the summer to avoid losing votes during GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s special sessions. Abbott retains 79% approval among Republicans in the state, according to the poll.

Unknown Texas primary challengers have a holiday season time crunch to beat before the Valentine’s Day primary early voting opens.

Even Abbott will be tough to beat within his party. He had $55 million in his campaign warchest at mid-year and led this poll among gubernatorial GOP primary candidates by huge margins:

  • Abbott 56%.
  • Former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West 13%.
  • Former Texas state Sen. Don Huffines 7%.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s dominance in GOP primary polling is also on that level, and Attorney General Ken Paxton, a frequent target of the left, remains in command, too, according to the report:

  • AG Paxton 48%.
  • George P. Bush 16%.
  • State rep. Matt Krause 3%.
  • Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman 2%.

Thus far, O’Rourke has not made any inclination he intends to try to run again, after spending millions in a failed bid to unseat Cruz in 2018, a bellwether for hopeful Democrats in the state.

The Democrat candidates to challenge Patrick or Paxton are struggling to even generate buzz, much less cash or support, according to the poll. Sixty-seven percent of Democrat primary voters said they have not thought about the race against Patrick, as businessman Mike Collier and political pundit Matthew Dowd are not household names.

Among attorney general Democrat primary candidates, there were 72% of Democrats who have no preference between Galveston, Texas, Mayor Joe Jaworski and Dallas lawyer Lee Merritt, according to the poll.

The University of Texas and the Texas Tribune polled 1,200 registered voters Oct. 22-31 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.83 percentage points. There were 554 registered Republicans (margin of error plus or minus 4.16 percentage points), and 436 registered Democrat voters (margin of error plus or minus 4.69 points).

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