Quinnipiac University poll shows race for Texas governor tightening

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows the race for Texas governor is tightening. It also looks at other issues including gun control and abortion rights.

The poll shows 48 percent of voters supporting incumbent Greg Abbott and 43 percent supporting Beto O'Rourke. 

As for President Joe Biden, only 33 percent approve of the job he's doing, with 61 percent disapproving.

"Eleven months ago, O'Rourke was behind by 15 points to Governor Abbott and right now it's five. So, factor in the margin of error, that's pretty much a tie," Tim Malloy, polling analyst for Quinnipiac University, said. "This came right after the Uvalde shooting, certainly not the governor's fault, but it puts anybody in charge on the hot seat to some degree. The abortion issue has been huge in the state of Texas, and O'Rourke has made himself very visible."

The poll breaks down both candidates by honesty, leadership, and caring about average Texans.

"It's not at all surprising that a majority of those responding feel that Beto O'Rourke is neither trustworthy nor a leader," James Dickey, CEO of JD Key Communications, said.

"Abbott, once again, a governor running for his third term, is under 50%. That is not a good position for an incumbent governor to be in. Now, Beto still has some ground to make up, but five points is very doable," Ed Espinoza, president of Progress Texas, said.

The poll uses a random sample of over a thousand people. 

Fifty-one percent of voters think stricter gun laws would help decrease the number of mass shootings. That's up from 42 percent last year.

"It's because the gun violence that we're seeing in this country, it's the number of people in favor of some sort of gun reform is overwhelming, even in Texas. But we're not seeing state leadership do anything about it as a contrast to that," Espinoza said.

Sixty-one percent of parents are worried about a shooting happening at their child's school.

"That tells you a lot about the fear that's resonating through the state," Malloy said.

Fifty-nine percent of voters think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. That's also an increase from last year when 51 percent thought it should be legal.

"Those are obviously immediate emotional responses to a tragic event on one side and a really scandalous destruction of all of our societal norms and governmental norms on the other side. It's normal for there to be an immediate reaction for that. That's why we live in a republic. That's why our legislators and those we elect to represent us are required to do really consider the impact of their actions before they automatically emotionally overreact," Dickey said. 

Experts say polling is a snapshot in time and current events can influence public opinion.

"It's a tidal thing. It flows up and down. It's all the headlines, and you'll see how people react," Malloy said.

For the entire poll, click here.