As the campaign for governor of Texas gets closer, the race between Democrat Beto O’Rourke and current governor Republican Greg Abbott keeps getting tighter.
A recent poll by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston shows that Abbott leads O’Rourke just by 5 points. The poll was conducted from June 27 until last Thursday.
The results also show that Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton each hold a 5-point lead in their race against a Democrat.
Despite the current tension in Texan politics and police forces due to the bad handling of the mass school shooting in Uvalde, in which the police force’s lack of action ended up in 19 kids and two teachers being killed, Republicans still seem to hold the lead, albeit with much less force than before.
Governor Greg Abbott’s popularity has seen a significant decline over the course of actions he has taken since the shooting in late May. From his lack of knowledge and communication with Uvalde police forces about what really happened that day, to refusing to take action to create better gun control policies, many have been slowly losing faith in his administration.
In December 2021, a poll showed that 60% of voters believed Abbott could do better at handling gun policy issues and only 33% thought O’Rourke could do better. But a poll published in early June found that the numbers had changed dramatically: 47% of voters thought Abbott could do a better job, and 43% thought O’Rourke would.
Another issue that has led Abbott’s approval astray is the energy crisis that has consumed Texas in the last few years. The catastrophic winter in 2021 that was hit with a winter storm and a massive power outage that left thousands of people without electricity, including homes, hospitals, and shelters, was only the beginning of electricity issues for the state.
Many have criticized Abbott’s lack of action and his sole solution being to ask Texans to reduce their energy consumption, especially amid one of the hottest summers to date. The power grid in the state is on a constant tightrope and there is a big risk of outages.
Finally, the current Governor refuses to open up the conversation about the legalization of marijuana, while the majority of Texans have shown that regardless of their political party, they are in favor of loosening laws regarding the plant. That is without adding his refusal to support women’s reproductive rights or respect LGBTQ youth.
For all these reasons, and young Texans changing the scene of one of the most conservative states in the country, Beto O’Rourke could be the change they have been waiting for. The race continues to tighten, and one can only wait for November to see how the numbers add up, and if Abbott will face dire consequences for his actions for not listening to the people.