Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott is polling ahead of Democrat Beto O’Rourke, also known as Robert Francis O’Rourke, in the state’s upcoming gubernatorial race, a poll finds.

The survey, released by Climate Nexus this week, asked participants, “If the election for Texas governor were being held today, and the candidates were Beto O’Rourke the Democrat and Greg Abbott the Republican, for whom would you vote?” It was taken between February 1-9, and 922 registered Texas voters participated.

In response, 45% of likely voters said they would back Abbott, while 40% said O’Rourke. Seven percent of respondents said “neither” or another candidate, while 8% are unsure which candidate they would support. A total of 87% of respondents said they would probably or definitely vote in the November race.

 On March 1, the state’s primary race will be held. The first of the 2022 midterm season, Abbott will face off against other Republicans, including former Florida Rep. Allen West – a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel.

Other information may point to Abbott enjoying a greater lead over O’Rourke. According to results of a University of Texas and Texas Politics Project poll released last week, the Democrat challenger is trailing by 10 percentage points. Forty-seven percent of voters said they would vote for the incumbent, whereas 37% said they would vote for O’Rourke.

A Quinnipiac University poll in December 2021 found O’Rourke down to Abbott by 15 points. The new poll would indicate he has made up some ground, but still has more to go. A notable finding in the Quinnipiac poll was that while 55% of voters viewed the Texas governor as honest, a mere 45% thought the same of his Democrat challenger. Other issues favored Abbott as well. 

Sixty percent felt Abbot was better dealing with the economy; only 32% voted for O’Rourke. Fifty-eight percent felt Abbott better equipped to handle the immigration issues at the southern border, which voters felt was the most urgent issue by far; only 35% went for O’Rourke.

O’Rourke takes the stage in 2022 after a failed run for the presidency in 2020. His campaign was marred by fundraising difficulties and an inability to sustain initially solid poll numbers after debates. Prior to running for the presidency, O’Rourke ran for Senate in Texas against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018.

The Climate Nexus poll also asked questions pertaining to national politics. In terms of approving President Joe Biden’s handling of the presidency, 40% replied that they “strongly disapprove,” while 16% said they “somewhat disapprove.”

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