Poll: Abbott has 4-point lead over O’Rourke among Texas registered voters

With the midterms less than a month away, a deadline is approaching for gubernatorial candidates to convince voters.

A new poll paints two different pictures of a possible outcome.

"When we look at different interpretations, with registered voters O'Rourke's going to say, ‘You know what? I’m closing in,’ but the likely voter still favors the governor," said Brian Smith, political science professor at St. Edward’s University.

The latest Marist Poll has incumbent Greg Abbott with a 4-point lead over challenger Beto O’Rourke among registered voters.

But among those who say they definitely plan to vote, Abbott’s lead doubles to 8 points.

"If those individuals show up who have pledged themselves to him and who are committed to him and know how they're going to vote, then he's in good shape," said Eddy Carder, constitutional law professor at Prairie View A&M University. "Otherwise, it could be a very, very close race, and we could be shocked at the outcome possibly."

One of the top issues on voters’ minds, according to poll results, is inflation. 

"Historically, when there are any kind of bad economic indicators, it benefits the person who is not the incumbent party," said Smith. "But people who like Abbott, are going to blame Joe Biden."

But also at play are Texans blaming Abbott for events like the February winter storm or the Uvalde shooting, something Carder says O'Rourke could, or should, capitalized on.

"If he would work on laying those at the feet of Governor Abbott more effectively, I think he would have done even better in the race thus far," said Carder.

Carder and Smith said that, ultimately, it will come down to which candidate can get their registered supporters to the polls. Much of that responsibility will fall on O’Rourke’s shoulders.

"He really needs to lead undecided voters and do something to motivate voters out to vote," said Smith.

There’s also always the chance for a major event to occur between now and November that shakes up the political landscape. 

"Certainly, you never know until the final vote is in," said Carder.

The last day to register to vote was Tuesday. The first day of early in-person voting is Oct. 24.