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Beto O’Rourke’s chances of beating Abbott with less than 3 months before the election


Former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke hopes to oust Republican incumbent Texas Governor Greg Abbott midterm Nov. 8, but with less than three months until Election Day, the Liberal nominee appears to be fighting an uphill battle.

O’Rourke, who previously served in Congress from Texas’ 16th district from 2013 to 2019, significantly raised his national profile when he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent GOP Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. After that, the Texas Democrat launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic Party. 2020 presidential nomination, dropped out long before caucuses and primaries start.

The Liberal candidate broke Texas fundraising records in his bid to unseat Abbott, who has already served two terms as governor. O’Rourke has raised $27.6 million in four months, according to his July 15 campaign announcement. However, Abbott brought in nearly $25 million over the same period, with polls showing he had a significant edge.

Polls show Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke trailing Republican Texas incumbent Governor Greg Abbott within three months of Election Day. Above left, O’Rourke is seen at the Pan American Neighborhood Park on June 26 in Austin, Texas. Top right, Abbott speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Aug. 4 in Dallas.
Sergio Flores/Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Results of the survey of The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, which were released on Sunday, showed O’Rourke down 7 points against Abbott. The Democratic candidate had the support of only 39% of registered voters while the Republican was supported by 46%. The poll was conducted from August 1 to 7 among 1,384 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 points.

A previous poll conducted from June 27 to July 1 by the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs and YouGov had given Abbott a 5-point lead. O’Rourke was supported by 42% of registered voters and the incumbent had 47% support. It included 1,169 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 points.

CBS News and YouGov survey results from June 22-27 had O’Rourke trailing by 8 points. The former congressman had the support of 41% of likely voters and Abbott had the support of 49%. The poll included 1,075 likely voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7%.

The current average of recent Texas polls published by news and polling site FiveThirtyEight shows Abbot with a nearly 9-point advantage. O’Rourke has support from about 40.4 percent of Texans to Abbott’s 49.3 percent.

A Democrat winning a statewide race in Texas remains a difficult feat to pull off. The state has not had a Democratic governor since 1995, and the last time a Democratic senator represented the state in Congress was in 1993. GOP presidential candidates have also carried Texas in every election since. 1980. But analysts have pointed to relatively narrow margins in recent statewide contests as well as Democratic wins in more local contests — describing Texas as trending “purple” instead of staying solidly red.

In the 2018 Senate race, O’Rourke finished just 2.6% behind Cruz. The Democrat had the support of 48.3% of Texan voters against 50.9% for the incumbent Republican. Former President Donald Trump, however, performed better against President Joe Biden in 2020, garnering 52.1% to the Democrat’s 46.5%.


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