AUSTIN, Texas — Equal numbers of Republican primary voters in Texas chose U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump as their first choice to be the Republican presidential nominee in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune statewide poll.
Each candidate was chosen by 27 percent of Texans polled, followed by neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 13 percent and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio at 9 percent.
Trump’s support increased 25 percentage points since the previous UT/Texas Tribune poll in June, conducted prior to his decision to formally enter the race. He shares the lead with Cruz, who has led every trial ballot in the poll since 2013 and whose support increased from 20 to 27 percent since the June survey. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush trailed far behind the frontrunners, one of three candidates to garner 4 percent of voters’ support.
The Internet-based state poll was conducted between Oct. 30 and Nov. 8 by the market research firm YouGov. The sample included 1,200 self-declared registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points.
The GOP presidential primary election in Texas will be held March 1, 2016. Texas allocates the third largest share of presidential delegates in the nominating contest.
“The results shouldn’t be taken as a prediction of an election that is still months ahead,” said James Henson, director of The Texas Politics Project and co-director of the UT/Texas Tribune Poll. “But these results tell us a lot about the political landscape of this election season. A big chunk of the GOP electorate in Texas remains uninterested in candidates they see as conventional or affiliated with either Washington, D.C., or the Republican establishment, which clearly helps both Cruz and Trump.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued to dominate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Clinton led Sanders 61 percent to 30 percent among Texans who said they planned to vote in the Democratic primary. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was the choice of 1 percent of Democrats.
“Since last spring, we have seen tremendous changes in the electoral landscape for both parties’ nomination contests. And yet the fundamentals remain the same: Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming favorite on the Democratic side, and the Republican race remains wide open,” said government professor Daron Shaw, a co-director of the poll.
The presidential primary match-ups included 542 Republican and 459 Democratic voters, with margins of error of 4.21 and 4.57 percentage points respectively.
The poll also asked voters to rate their favorability of presidential candidates and Texas leaders. Some highlights:
- Trump was viewed somewhat or very favorably by 34 percent and somewhat or very unfavorable by 51 percent of voters polled.
- Cruz was viewed somewhat or very favorably by 41 percent and somewhat or very unfavorably by 38 percent.
- U.S. Sen. John Cornyn was viewed somewhat or very favorably by 26 percent and somewhat or very unfavorable by 32 percent.
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was viewed somewhat or very favorably by 44 percent and somewhat or very unfavorably by 30 percent.
- Clinton was viewed somewhat or very favorably by 34 percent and somewhat or very unfavorable by 56 percent of voters polled.
This is the latest in a series of polls conducted by the Texas Politics Project and The Texas Tribune. Comprehensive poll results, information about methodology and the survey dataset will be released initially by The Texas Tribune during the next four business days. Graphics, a summary, crosstabs and a data file will be publicly available for research and teaching at the Texas Politics Project website next week.