Former Democratic Representative Beto O’Rourke hopes to oust Texas’ incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott in the upcoming November 8 midterm, but with less than three months until Election Day the liberal candidate looks to be fighting an uphill battle.
O’Rourke, who previously served in Congress for Texas’ 16th District from 2013 through 2019, significantly grew his national profile when he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent GOP Senator Ted Cruz in 2018. After that, the Texas Democrat launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic Party‘s 2020 presidential nomination, dropping out well before the caucuses and primaries began.
The liberal candidate has broken Texas fundraising records in his bid to unseat Abbott, who has already served two terms as governor. O’Rourke raked in a whopping $27.6 million in four months, according to his campaign’s announcement from July 15. However, Abbott brought in nearly $25 million during the same time period, with polls showing him having a significant advantage.
Survey results from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, which were published Sunday, showed O’Rourke down by 7 points against Abbott. The Democratic contender had the support of just 39 percent of registered voters while the Republican was backed by 46 percent. The poll was conducted from August 1 to 7 among 1,384 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 points.
A previous poll carried out from June 27 to July 1 by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs and YouGov had Abbott ahead by 5 points. O’Rourke was backed by 42 percent of registered voters and the incumbent governor had the support of 47 percent. It included 1,169 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 points.
Survey results from CBS News and YouGov from June 22 to 27 had O’Rourke trailing by 8 points. The former congressman had the support of 41 percent of likely voters and Abbott had the backing of 49 percent. The poll included 1,075 likely voters with a margin of error plus or minus 4.7 percent.
The current average of recent Texas polls published by news and polling site FiveThirtyEight shows Abbot with a nearly 9 point advantage. O’Rourke has the support of about 40.4 percent of Texans compared to Abbott’s 49.3 percent.
A Democrat winning a statewide race in Texas remains a difficult feat to achieve. The state hasn’t been led by a Democratic governor since 1995, and the last time a Democratic senator represented the state in Congress was 1993. GOP presidential candidates have also carried Texas in every election going back to 1980. But analysts have pointed to relatively close margins in recent statewide contests as well as Democratic victories in more local contests—describing Texas as trending “purple” instead of remaining solidly red.
In the 2018 Senate race, O’Rourke finished only 2.6 percent behind Cruz. The Democrat had the backing of 48.3 percent of Texan voters compared to the incumbent Republican’s 50.9 percent. Former President Donald Trump performed better against President Joe Biden in 2020 however, garnering 52.1 percent to the Democrat’s 46.5 percent.