(BThe Center Square) Less than two months out from the Nov. election, a new poll shows Gov. Greg Abbott leading Democratic challenger Robert “Beto” O’Rourke by seven points.
The majority of those surveyed listed the economy and border security as their top issues this election. The majority polled also expressed support for Abbott’s border security effort, including busing people who illegally entered Texas to blue states and cities.
According to the new Spectrum News/Siena College poll, Abbott leads O’Rourke 50% to 43%.
“[Gov.] Abbott, who won a landslide thirteen-point race against Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez four years ago, has a seven-point lead with over six weeks until Election Day,” SCRI Director Don Levy said in a statement.
“Abbott has the support of 95% of Republicans and O’Rourke has the support of 93% of Democrats, while independents tilt toward Abbott by one point.”
According to the poll, Abbott has a 47-46% favorability rating. O’Rourke has a negative 39-52% favorability rating.
The majority polled, 59%, said the economy/inflation/cost of living was the most important issue “in determining the election.” Among them, 75% of Republicans, 60% of Independents and 38% of Democrats said the economy is their top concern.
“Economic issues are by far the dominant election issues for all voters. Republicans overwhelmingly put economic issues in the top spot, and say immigration is the second most important issue affecting their vote,” Levy said.
Thirty-one percent of those polled list immigration and the southern border as their top concern, including 54% of Republicans, 27% of Independents and 6% of Democrats.
The majority, 58%, also approve of Abbott’s border security initiative, Operation Lone Star, with 93% of Republicans, 53% of Independents and 24% of Democrats supporting it.
Another majority, 52%, expressed support for Abbott’s busing strategy. Since April, he’s bused more than 12,000 people to Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago after they’d illegally entered the U.S. in Texas.
Since the majority are likely ineligible for admittance according to federal immigration law, they are required to be detained, processed and removed.
Instead, the Biden administration has been releasing a historic number into the U.S., prompting states to sue. In the meantime, Abbott and the governors of Fla. and Ariz. have been providing voluntary and free transportation to blue states and cities.
Republicans have expressed strong support for Abbott’s busing initiative; 47% of Independents support it and Democrats overwhelmingly oppose it.
“Threats to our democracy,” 30% of voters said, was the third-most important concern for them this election, with 38% of Democrats, 33% of Independents and 21% of Republicans saying it’s a priority.
While Democrats have been using the issue of abortion as their rallying cry to oust incumbent Republicans, only 22% polled said it was their top issue.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton are also leading in their races, the poll found. Patrick leads his Democratic opponent Mike Collier by 9 points, 49% to 40%. Paxton leads his Democratic opponent Rochelle Garza by 5 points, 47% to 42%.
The poll surveyed 651 likely Texas voters from Sept. 14-18 and has a margin of error of 4.4%.
According to a RealClear Politics average, Abbott leads O’Rourke by 7.5%.