AUSTIN, Texas - A new poll takes a closer look at the race for governor and how Texans feel about the state of Texas.
The Texas Lyceum poll, released last Friday, shows Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke is closing the gap on Governor Greg Abbott. The poll has Abbott at 42 percent and O'Rourke is only two points back at 40 percent. Seven percent of Texas voters said someone else and four percent don't know, at this time.
When Texans were asked what they think are the most important issues facing the state today, 14 percent said border security coming in second to inflation and rising prices. Political corruption and leadership came in third. Energy and gas prices came in fourth and at number five, the economy.
President of Progress Texas Ed Espinosa and CEO of JD Key Communications James Dickey join FOX 7 Austin's Rebecca Thomas to speak on the Texas Lyceum poll.
Rebecca: A new poll takes a closer look at the race for governor and how Texans feel about the state of Texas. The Texas Lyceum poll, released last Friday, shows Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke is closing the gap on Governor Greg Abbott. The poll has Abbott at 42 percent and O'Rourke is only two points back at 40 percent. Seven percent of Texas voters said someone else and four percent don't know now.
Rebecca: When Texans were asked what they think are the most important issues facing the state today, 14 percent said border security coming in second to inflation and rising prices. Political corruption and leadership came in third. Energy and gas prices came in fourth and at number five, the economy. Here to talk about this is Ed Espinosa, president of Progress Texas, and James Dickey, CEO of JD Key Communications. Thank you both for being here.
Ed: Good to be here.
James: Thank you.
Rebecca: Ed, let's start with the race for governor. Abbott's lead on O'Rourke was at double digits about six months ago. Why do you think he is gaining on Governor Abbott?
Ed: Well, I think right now he's at about 40 percent, which is where Democrats generally are at this point in the election cycle and many times at the end of election cycle. The key here is that Abbott's numbers are coming down. He's at 42 percent, and that's not unusual for what we have seen in polling over the past few years. But it is unusual in this head-to-head match up now. Abbott led by 15 points in December. But then he dropped to ten point two points today. I think that people are frustrated with the leadership. I think they don't see an answer to their problems. Economic insecurity and housing are two of the biggest issues happening right now, and the state doesn't have an answer for it.
Rebecca: James, when taking a look at this poll, what is your take on the governor's race being only two points apart?
James: Well, I think it shows that the governor's campaign is going to have to make the case that the frustration that Texas voters feel is because of the headwinds we're all facing because of the horrible Democrat leadership at the national level. And that battle is not if you hate and if you are frustrated by how bad things are going in a national level. If you don't like what Biden's doing, you will really hate what Barrow is doing. He needs to make that case, tie them together and the things Texas voters are most worried about. The six top things Texas voters are worried about in Texas. Every one of them is a thing on which Beto is horrible. So it's an easy case for the governor to make, but he's going to have to make it.
Rebecca: Ed, in the Lyceum poll, Texans listed border security and the economy as some of their biggest concerns. How do you think that Democrats in the state will fare with the Democrat in the White House? How are they doing on those issues?
Ed: Well, you have to keep in mind that the Democrat has only been in the White House for just over a year. Abbott has been in office for close to a decade, and if the problems are here at Texas, they're happening on his watch. That's why I think it's a fair game when you're talking about economic insecurity and the rising price of housing in this state and the low inventory in the high property taxes. Those school district taxes, they go to the state and is the state putting them back into the schools in an equitable way that people feel it? I don't think they are. And that's a real problem right now, and it's something that needs to be addressed. We can talk about guns and abortion all we want. It's not going to change the price of their property taxes, and we're not getting any answers from Republican leadership on that. I think that's what's happening here, and I think that the edge goes to Beto right now.
Rebecca: All right. We are running out of time. James final thoughts?
James: Absolutely. The leadership did what they needed to do to address property taxes. Number one issue in Texas is immigration on the border. And Betto is as bad or worse than Biden on that issue.
Rebecca: All right, James. Ed, thank you both for sharing your perspectives with us tonight.
James: Thank you.
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