FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A new CBS 11 / Dixie Strategies poll shows Democrats have not coalesced around any single candidate when it comes to their choice for Texas Governor in the primary election and 54% are still undecided just days prior to Election Day, March 6. While Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) and Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) are considered safe experts say the election in the fall could still hold some surprises.
While there are many energized Democrats here in Texas who are voting early, many of them do not know enough about the candidates they are considering.
According to Brian Graham of Dixie Strategies, “It comes down to money. If you don’t have millions upon millions of dollars to advertise in a state like Texas, then you’re not going to be as well known.” Graham said that local popularity in a candidate’s hometown doesn’t always translate to statewide success.
Texas voters were asked for whom they would vote if the primary election for Governor were held today. Only 46% of Democrat likely voters were willing to name a specific candidate for whom they would vote, the rest of the respondents were undecided.
Notably former Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez – the presumed front-runner – only received 12% with Houston businessman Andrew White leading the pack at 17%. White is also the son of former Texas Democratic Governor Mark White. Flower Mound financial adviser Adrian Ocegueda was at 6%. The remaining six candidates each received less than 4%.
Graham speculates there will be a run-off election necessary when it comes to choosing a Democrat candidate to run against Texas Governor Greg Abbott. “It looks like there will be a runoff in that race because there are so many undecided. And if those split evenly among the two leading contenders, then it still puts them below 50%. It doesn’t look like they’ll get over 50% in that race.”
Democrats: If the primary election for Governor were held today, for whom would you vote?
The poll also shows that undecideds outweigh the candidates among likely Democratic voters for both the U.S. Senate and Lieutenant Governor.
Graham said even though O’Rourke has been crisscrossing the state in his bid to become the Democrat’s choice for Texas Senator, Graham says – that alone – is not usually enough to gain name recognition. “What it usually takes is a massive media campaign – millions of dollars,” said Graham.
Democrats: If the primary election for US Senate were held today, for whom would you vote?
Democrats: If the primary election for Lieutenant Governor were held today, for whom would you vote?
Democrats: If the primary election for Land Commissioner were held today, for whom would you vote?
According to the poll, Republican likely primary voters strongly support both Greg Abbott (84%) for Governor and Ted Cruz (73%) for U.S. Senate. Undecideds are a little higher when voters are asked about Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick but his lead is still a comfortable 60% over former Rockwall City Council Member Scott Milder (15%).
Republicans: If the primary election for Governor were held today, for whom would you vote?
The Senate race in Texas is shaping up to be the marquee race in the fall. So far O’Rourke has raised far more money than originally expected. Graham says Cruz hasn’t really turned on the heat yet – or raised the money he’s clearly capable of – and expects that Cruz will do so after he wins the primary. Graham believes Cruz will be safe.
Republicans: If the primary election for US Senate were held today, for whom would you vote?
Graham thinks Abbott is a safe bet to remain Texas Governor after the General Election in November. “He [Abbott] is arguably one of the most popular figures in the state of Texas… if there is some amazing Democratic wave across the country, that could put the numbers a little bit closer, but even if they’re closer, it still does not appear Governor Abbott is going to have much trouble.”
Republicans: If the primary election for Lieutenant Governor were held today, for whom would you vote?
Republicans: If the primary election for Land Commissioner were held today, for whom would you vote?
This CBS 11/Dixie Strategies Poll was conducted on February 22-23, 2018 and includes the viewpoints of 300 likely Democratic voters and 445 likely Republican voters across Texas who were contacted and surveyed over the phone. The margin of error is 3.82% for favorability ratings and issue questions; 5.66% for the Democratic Primary; 4.65% for the Republican Primary and has a 95 percent confidence level.