AUSTIN, Texas If the election for Texas governor were held today, Attorney General Greg Abbott would have a six-point lead over state Sen. Wendy Davis, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
Forty percent of Texans said they would vote for Abbott in a head-to-head race with Davis, with 34 percent indicating support for Davis and 25 percent responding as undecided.
"What you've got is a race in which, for the first time in a long time, the Democrat is as well-known as the Republican at the outset of the race," said poll co-director Daron Shaw, a professor of government at The University of Texas at Austin. "If it's Abbott, he will have to introduce himself to Republican voters and mobilize them in a way that neither Bush nor Perry had to. Those Bush and Perry voters are still out there for him, though."
The statewide poll, conducted Oct. 18-27, surveyed 1,200 registered Texas voters and had a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.
"These numbers are not evidence that the underlying fundamentals are changing in Texas," said James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at The University of Texas at Austin and a co-director of the poll. "As other results to be released later this week will illustrate, Texans' views on policy issues and the parties still fall within patterns we see in the last five years of the poll."
Currently, Davis is the only Democratic candidate in the race. Abbott faces four other Republicans in the March 2014 primary. Fifty percent of Republicans polled said they would vote for Abbott, with only 8 percent indicating support for the other four candidates Lisa Fritsch, Tom Pauken, Miriam Martinez and Larry Kilgore. Forty-two percent said they haven't thought enough about it to have an opinion.
In the primary election for lieutenant governor, 26 percent of Republicans polled would vote for David Dewhurst, with 13 percent favoring Dan Patrick. Ten percent said they would vote for Jerry Patterson, with 5 percent opting for Todd Staples. Forty-six percent had no opinion.
When asked about candidate favorability in the governor's race, respondents identifying as Democrats favored Davis over Abbott 67 percent to 8 percent. Among Republicans, Abbott is favored over Davis 74 percent to 6 percent.
Among all voters, 37 percent said they had a very or somewhat favorable impression of Davis, with 31 percent indicating somewhat or very unfavorable. Thirty-six percent said they had a very or somewhat favorable impression of Abbott, with 24 percent indicating somewhat or very unfavorable.
Twenty-five percent of all voters had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of Sen. John Cornyn, with 30 percent indicating somewhat or very unfavorable opinion. In the primary for the U.S. Senate, 39 percent of Republicans polled said they would vote for Cornyn, with 7 and 6 percent indicating support for opponents Dwayne Stovall and Erick Wyatt, respectively. Forty-eight percent did not have an opinion.
This is the latest in a series of online polls conducted by the Texas Politics Project and The Texas Tribune. Comprehensive poll results, information about methodology and the survey dataset will be available at the Texas Politics Project website later this week.