Public Opinion Context for the One and Only Texas Gubernatorial Debate

The gubernatorial debate between incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto ORourke in McAllen, Texas is likely to be the only time the two candidates will share a stage in the 2022 campaign. The University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll has been exploring Texas attitudes related to the candidates and the broader context of the election over the last year, and got into extensive detail in our most recent poll, which was conducted from August 26-September 6.

To provide context for tonight’s debate, we’ve gathered several results that illustrate how Texans view each of the candidates, their comparative levels of trust on the major issues emerging in the campaign, and more. This post is built for browsing – readers can use the links below to jump to subjects in the post that most interest them, or just graze through the results. All of the results from the last UT/Texas Politics Project Poll are on our latest poll page. You can review all of the public polls, with links to individual poll results, using our Texas 2022 Gubernatorial Poll Tracker.

The debate will be carried on Nexstar stations in Texas, and streamed at various sites.

Vote Intention
Favorability Ratings of Abbott and O'Rourke
Issue Salience
Trust on selected issues
Greg Abbott Job Approval Trends

 

Vote Intention

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categoryTotal
Greg Abbott45%
Beto O'Rourke40%
Delilah Barrios2%
Mark Tippets2%
Someone else3%
Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion8%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Greg Abbott4%40%86%
Beto O'Rourke85%22%5%
Delilah Barrios2%1%1%
Mark Tippets2%5%1%
Someone else1%6%3%
Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion6%25%4%

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CategoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Greg Abbott58%15%33%
Beto O'Rourke29%71%52%
Delilah Barrios2%2%2%
Mark Tippets2%2%2%
Someone else3%0%2%
Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion7%10%10%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
Greg Abbott32%48%61%
Beto O'Rourke51%39%26%
Delilah Barrios3%1%1%
Mark Tippets3%1%2%
Someone else2%3%2%
Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion8%8%9%

Favorability Ratings of Abbott and O'Rourke

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categoryTotal
Very favorable22%
Somewhat favorable23%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable8%
Somewhat unfavorable8%
Very unfavorable37%
Don't know/No opinion2%

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categoryTotal
Very favorable25%
Somewhat favorable16%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable7%
Somewhat unfavorable6%
Very unfavorable42%
Don't know/No opinion4%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Very favorable3%5%44%
Somewhat favorable8%32%35%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable5%14%8%
Somewhat unfavorable6%16%7%
Very unfavorable77%27%6%
Don't know/No opinion1%6%1%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Very favorable56%9%3%
Somewhat favorable28%14%7%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable8%7%4%
Somewhat unfavorable2%16%5%
Very unfavorable3%47%80%
Don't know/No opinion2%7%2%

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CategoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Very favorable28%9%15%
Somewhat favorable27%13%18%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable8%8%8%
Somewhat unfavorable7%8%9%
Very unfavorable28%58%46%
Don't know/No opinion1%3%4%

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CategoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Very favorable17%51%30%
Somewhat favorable14%23%20%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable6%9%8%
Somewhat unfavorable6%6%5%
Very unfavorable55%6%32%
Don't know/No opinion3%5%5%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
Very favorable18%21%32%
Somewhat favorable17%26%25%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable10%7%5%
Somewhat unfavorable8%7%8%
Very unfavorable45%37%27%
Don't know/No opinion3%2%2%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
Very favorable34%24%15%
Somewhat favorable20%17%8%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable9%5%7%
Somewhat unfavorable6%6%4%
Very unfavorable25%46%60%
Don't know/No opinion5%2%5%

Issue Salience

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categoryTotal
The state economy63%
Public safety60%
The state’s electric grid60%
Voting and elections59%
Health care57%
Public education56%
Immigration / Border security55%
Gun violence54%
Abortion52%
Property taxes47%
The environment / climate change40%

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categoryTotal
Immigration / Border security26%
The state economy13%
Abortion12%
Gun violence11%
Climate change7%
Health care6%
Voting & elections6%
Property taxes5%
The state's electric grid4%
Public education3%
Public safety2%
Don't know / No opinion4%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
The state economy52%57%75%
Public safety57%50%66%
The state’s electric grid69%53%55%
Voting and elections62%41%63%
Health care72%49%44%
Public education65%38%52%
Immigration / Border security28%62%78%
Gun violence78%40%33%
Abortion71%32%38%
Property taxes36%49%58%
The environment / climate change67%31%17%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Immigration / Border security4%27%49%
The state economy10%10%18%
Abortion21%6%5%
Gun violence18%15%2%
Climate change12%6%3%
Health care8%5%4%
Voting & elections9%3%4%
Property taxes2%16%6%
The state's electric grid7%3%2%
Public education4%2%3%
Public safety2%2%1%
Don't know / No opinion4%7%2%

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CategoryWhiteBlackHispanic
The state economy62%65%62%
Public safety59%62%64%
The state’s electric grid61%55%60%
Voting and elections62%58%54%
Health care51%66%65%
Public education56%55%58%
Immigration / Border security63%39%48%
Gun violence47%75%63%
Abortion49%55%56%
Property taxes47%39%52%
The environment / climate change31%54%50%

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CategoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Immigration / Border security34%3%19%
The state economy14%15%12%
Abortion11%13%11%
Gun violence5%27%16%
Climate change6%8%10%
Health care5%8%8%
Voting & elections6%6%5%
Property taxes5%3%6%
The state's electric grid4%7%4%
Public education4%3%3%
Public safety3%3%2%
Don't know / No opinion4%4%3%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
The state economy58%63%70%
Public safety60%60%61%
The state’s electric grid58%57%68%
Voting and elections57%59%63%
Health care61%55%53%
Public education53%55%62%
Immigration / Border security47%55%68%
Gun violence63%52%47%
Abortion55%51%50%
Property taxes43%47%54%
The environment / climate change48%37%34%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
Immigration / Border security16%29%35%
The state economy13%13%17%
Abortion13%12%9%
Gun violence14%11%3%
Climate change7%8%5%
Health care7%6%5%
Voting & elections8%6%3%
Property taxes6%4%8%
The state's electric grid6%4%3%
Public education3%4%2%
Public safety4%1%4%
Don't know / No opinion3%3%6%

Candidate trust on key issues

Trust on immigration / border security...

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categoryTotal
Greg Abbott48%
Beto O'Rourke36%
Neither9%
Don't know/No opinion7%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Greg Abbott7%56%86%
Beto O'Rourke76%14%5%
Neither8%21%7%
Don't know/No opinion8%8%3%

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CategoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Greg Abbott62%16%36%
Beto O'Rourke25%60%47%
Neither8%11%10%
Don't know/No opinion5%13%7%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
Greg Abbott33%52%64%
Beto O'Rourke48%33%23%
Neither10%8%10%
Don't know/No opinion8%7%4%

Trust on the state economy...

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categoryTotal
Greg Abbott46%
Beto O'Rourke35%
Neither9%
Don't know/No opinion10%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Greg Abbott6%51%84%
Beto O'Rourke74%14%5%
Neither7%23%7%
Don't know/No opinion12%11%5%

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CategoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Greg Abbott59%16%34%
Beto O'Rourke24%63%44%
Neither10%7%10%
Don't know/No opinion7%13%12%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
Greg Abbott34%49%60%
Beto O'Rourke47%32%22%
Neither10%9%10%
Don't know/No opinion10%10%8%

Trust on abortion...

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categoryTotal
Greg Abbott38%
Beto O'Rourke42%
Neither12%
Don't know/No opinion9%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Greg Abbott5%35%69%
Beto O'Rourke83%27%9%
Neither6%22%14%
Don't know/No opinion7%17%8%

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CategoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Greg Abbott49%13%27%
Beto O'Rourke33%62%51%
Neither11%16%10%
Don't know/No opinion7%9%11%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
Greg Abbott28%38%53%
Beto O'Rourke52%40%29%
Neither12%13%8%
Don't know/No opinion8%9%10%

Trust on gun violence...

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categoryTotal
Greg Abbott42%
Beto O'Rourke42%
Neither9%
Don't know/No opinion6%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Greg Abbott5%40%78%
Beto O'Rourke83%29%10%
Neither7%17%8%
Don't know/No opinion6%14%4%

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CategoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Greg Abbott55%11%30%
Beto O'Rourke30%70%54%
Neither9%9%10%
Don't know/No opinion6%10%6%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
Greg Abbott29%44%61%
Beto O'Rourke56%41%23%
Neither11%8%10%
Don't know/No opinion5%8%5%

​Greg Abbott Job Approval Trends

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PollApproveDisapproveNeither/Don't Know
November 201542%29%28%
February 201641%29%30%
June 201642%31%27%
October 201642%33%25%
February 201745%33%23%
June 201745%38%16%
October 201748%33%19%
February 201846%31%23%
June 201847%36%18%
October 201852%32%17%
February 201951%32%17%
June 201951%31%18%
October 201952%28%21%
February 202048%34%18%
April 202056%32%13%
June 202049%39%13%
October 202047%40%14%
February 202146%39%15%
March 202145%43%11%
April 202143%45%13%
June 202144%44%11%
August 202141%50%9%
October 202143%48%10%
February 202244%42%15%
April 202247%41%13%
June 202243%46%12%
August 202246%44%10%
October 202247%44%9%
December 202249%41%8%

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categoryTotal
Approve strongly22%
Approve somewhat24%
Neither approve nor disapprove8%
Disapprove somewhat8%
Disapprove strongly36%
Don't know2%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Approve strongly3%5%42%
Approve somewhat8%32%38%
Neither approve nor disapprove5%13%8%
Disapprove somewhat7%15%7%
Disapprove strongly77%28%5%
Don't know1%6%0%

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CategoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Approve strongly27%11%17%
Approve somewhat29%14%19%
Neither approve nor disapprove7%13%10%
Disapprove somewhat9%8%6%
Disapprove strongly28%54%44%
Don't know1%1%4%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
Approve strongly18%21%31%
Approve somewhat22%25%26%
Neither approve nor disapprove9%9%6%
Disapprove somewhat6%9%8%
Disapprove strongly43%35%28%
Don't know2%1%2%

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