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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — In the race for Texas governor, Republican incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott maintains a strong lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, according to a new poll conducted this week by Nexstar and Emerson College, released Tuesday morning.

An Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey of Texas voters found Abbott holds an eight-point lead over his Democratic challenger O’Rourke, 50% to 42%, with six weeks left until the November elections.

A majority of Texas voters (55%) have a favorable view of Abbott, while 43% have a negative view of the governor. Forty-four percent have a favorable view of O’Rourke, while 52% have a negative view of him. 

Two percent support Libertarian Mark Tippetts, and 5% are undecided. Since the last Emerson/The Hill survey in February, Abbott’s seven-point lead has grown to eight. However, the governor’s support has dropped by two points, and O’Rourke’s dropped by three.

Regardless of whom they support, a majority of voters, 63%, expect the Republican incumbent to win a third term.

Considering other recent polls of the Texas gubernatorial race, Abbott leads by eight points on average, according to RealClearPolitics.

The results come days before the only televised debate both candidates have agreed to participate in, hosted by Nexstar in the Rio Grande Valley on Friday.

Texas voters’ opinion on issues

The economy is the top issue for 40% of Texas voters, followed by abortion access (16%), immigration (12%) and health care (8%). 

When it comes to issues, the majority of voters, 40%, listed the economy as the top issue for this election. Sixteen percent ranked abortion access as their top issue, while 12% said immigration and 8% said health care.

Fifty-five percent of voters said they are more likely to vote in the November election due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. Forty-one percent said it will make no difference on their vote. 

Texas voters’ opinion of Biden versus Trump

In a hypothetical 2024 presidential matchup between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, 49% of Texans would support Trump and 40% would support Biden. Eight percent would support someone else and 3% are undecided. Trump won Texas in 2020 and 2016.

Fifty-six percent of Texas voters disapprove of the job Biden is doing as president while 37% approve.

The recent FBI search of Mar-a-Lago makes 39% of Texans more likely to support Trump in 2024, while 31% are less likely to support Trump because of the search and 30% said it makes no difference. 


The Emerson College Polling/The Hill Texas poll was done Sept. 20-22. The poll surveyed very likely voters with a margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.02 percentage points.

The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, region, party affiliation and race/ethnicity based on 2022 turnout modeling. It is important to remember subsets based on gender, age, education and race/ethnicity carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines, cell phones via SMS-to-web and an online panel.