In a U.S. Senate seat match-up between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, most Texans haven’t decided how to vote; a majority of Texas adults approve of the job Greg Abbott is doing; and Texans are polarized about how they feel about President Donald Trump, with a slight majority disapproving of the job he’s doing, according to a political poll released Wednesday.
The annual poll conducted by the Texas Lyceum, a nonprofit association for young Texas leaders, surveys 1,000 adults, not just registered or likely voters. Because Texas Republicans have higher voter participation rates than the population as a whole, the annual Lyceum poll tends to portray a less conservative state than most political polls do. The poll’s overall margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.
The poll was conducted April 3 to April 9 by University of Texas government professor Daron Shaw and Joshua Blank, manager of polling and research at the Texas Politics Project.
Fifty-four percent of Texans polled disapprove of the job Trump is doing; 42 percent approve. Those views are polarized by party and race, with 85 percent of Republicans giving the president positive marks compared to 86 percent of Democrats who disapprove of his job performance; Hispanics and young people view his performance negatively and whites view it generally positively.
The poll found that Abbott gets a 53 percent approval rating, including 82 percent of Republicans.
A plurality of Texas adults — 38 percent — also approve of the job that Lt. Gov. Patrick is doing, with 31 percent disapproving. But nearly a third of those polled were unable to offer an assessment, suggesting Patrick remains little known to many Texans.
The pollsters also asked nearly 900 registered voters about their views on match-ups for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Cruz.
In a face-off between with O’Rourke, who has officially entered the contest, Cruz and O’Rourke each garner 30 percent, with a plurality of Texas voters — 37 percent — saying that they haven’t thought about the race yet.
“While this early result may feel like good news for Texas Democrats,” the pollsters write, “among those who say that they haven’t thought about the race yet, only 19 percent identify themselves as liberal, compared to 33 percent who identify as conservative, and 36 percent who identify as moderate.”
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, who is considering a senate bid, fairs slightly better against Cruz, with 35 percent of Texas registered voters polled saying that they would support him compared to 31 percent who say that they would support Cruz.