Poll Shows Biden With 6-Point Lead Over O’Rourke in Texas

(CN) – Former Vice President Joe Biden leads among Texas Democrats according to a poll released Thursday, overshadowing former Congressman Beto O’Rourke in his home state as the Democratic presidential candidates prepare for next week’s debate in Houston.

Democratic presidential candidate, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, speaks during a candidates forum at the 110th NAACP National Convention on July 24, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The independent nonprofit Texas Lyceum released its annual statewide poll, showing Biden with a lead of 24% and O’Rourke in second place at 18%, followed closely by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 15% and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 13%.

While Warren moved ahead of Sanders in the Lone Star State, her lead over her Senate colleague is still within the poll’s margin of error.

No other Democratic candidate received double-digit support, including former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Senator Kamala Harris of California who each received 4%.

“This result is probably disappointing to Castro supporters, particularly his current standing among Hispanics in the state,” Daron Shaw, a government professor at the University of Texas and one of the pollsters, said in a written statement. “But the Texas primary is more than six months away, and so much is going to happen between now and then. What is clear, though, is that both Castro and O’Rourke need a strong showing somewhere prior to March 3, 2020, in order to convince Texans that they stand a real chance.”

Biden supporters represented a wide swath of Texas Democrats, including a plurality of white voters (27%), black voters (33%), 45-to-64-year-olds (37%), senior citizens (43%), and male primary voters (28%). O’Rourke picked up support among younger Democrats, including a plurality among 18 to 29-year-olds (21%) and 30 to 44-year-olds (23%).

As the Democrats prepare to hash it out in Houston, the poll found support has slightly risen for President Donald Trump among all Texans since last year. When asked about his job performance, 48% said they believe the president is doing a good job, compared to 44% last year. Although his job approval rating increased, Trump still carries at 51% disapproval rating among Texans.

Trump has historically received high marks for his handling of the economy and of those surveyed, 38% said the national economy is better off than a year ago, with equal shares of people saying it is the same or worse than in 2018.

While Texans are more optimistic about their own state’s economy, with 45% saying it is better than other states, that is a significant drop-off from last year when 63% said the same.

Many in the Lone Star State are also increasingly concerned with possible Russian interference in the 2020 elections. A near-majority (49%) believe that foreign interference in the upcoming presidential election is a “major problem,” while just 16% said they are “very confident” that the state’s elections are safe from outsider hacking.

“Make no mistake: Texans are concerned about foreign actors spreading misinformation and possibly hacking into county or statewide election systems,” Shaw said. “But they see other threats as greater and more immediate.”

Most Texans polled (62%) said they view domestic forces as a greater threat to democracy. Among Republicans, 29% said the news media was the greatest threat, whereas 36% of Democrats said it was money in politics.

Ten Democratic presidential candidates will debate at Texas Southern University on Sept. 12.

The Texas Lyceum poll was conducted among 1,000 Texas adults from Aug. 16-25 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.83 percentage points.


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