AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A poll released Sunday shows a tighter race for Governor, countering other statewide polls that have shown a growing lead for incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The poll from Beacon Research shows Abbott’s lead over challenger Beto O’Rourke narrowing to 3 points amongst registered Texas voters.
It comes a day before Texans will begin casting their first ballots, with early voting opening up statewide on Monday.
Beacon Research conducted this poll from Oct. 15-19 on behalf of the Democratic Policy Institute. Beacon Research is an independent pollster, which primarily works with Democratic and progressive groups.
“The race is slightly closer among those who say they will definitely vote and those who are extremely or very motivated to cast a ballot,” said Beacon pollster Chris Anderson.
Beacon’s polling shows a possibly much tighter race, but the poll is an outlier compared to other recent polling on the gubernatorial race. FiveThirtyEight, an anaylitcs group which aggregates polling data, shows Abbott leading by about 8 points on average.
FiveThirtyEight gives Beacon Research a grade “B/C” overall when it comes to the “overall historical accuracy and methodology of each polling organization’s polls.” However, it has teamed for several polls with Fox News and Shaw & Co., a polling group that primarily works with Republican groups. Those joint polls and are ranked an “A” for accuracy and methodology according to FiveThirtyEight.
In an election season where a host of topics have been front and center of the campaigns, the poll found no single issue dominates as voters head to the polls.
Roughly equal numbers of respondents said immigration and border security (22%) and the economy, jobs and inflation (21%) are their top issues. After that, 17% said political corruption/attacks on democracy. Sixteen percent ranked abortion as the most important issue facing the state. Gun laws and school safety was top of mind for 13% polled, and public education lagged at 8%.
Abbott’s campaign won the popularity contest on immigration, which has been a central part of his campaign. He also leads on the economy (65%). Ninety-four percent of voters backed the Republican on immigration, while O’Rourke lead with voters on issues like gun policy and education. On abortion, 83% of voters backed the Democrat.
“Key themes about the need to protect abortion rights and for commonsense gun laws resonate broadly with voters,” Anderson said. “Democrats almost universally strongly agree, and the potentially key groups of independent voters and those undecided in the race broadly agree as well.”
“Beacon Research surveyed 1,264 Texas registered voters from October 15-19, 2022 regarding the Texas gubernatorial race. Respondents were contacted by live telephone interviewers and via a text- to-web approach, and had the option to take the survey in English or Spanish. Phone numbers were selected via a random digit dial (RDD) approach and respondents were screened to ensure they were registered to vote in Texas. Regional and demographic quotas were set to reflect turnout patterns in comparable past elections. The margin of error for the overall results is 2.8%.“