PPP's newest poll of next year's race for Governor of Texas finds Republican Greg Abbott expanding his lead over Democrat Wendy Davis. Abbott now has a 15 point advantage at 50/35. That's up a good amount from our last poll, conducted the week of Davis' famous filibuster, when Abbott led just 48/40. But it's pretty comparable to what we found in January when he had a 46/34 lead.
As Davis has become better known to Texans, her negatives have risen. 36% of voters have a favorable opinion of her to 42% with an unfavorable one. In June it was a positive 39/29 spread, meaning she's dropped a net 16 points since then. Voters are kind of indifferent toward Abbott, with 35% rating him favorably, 32% unfavorably, and 33% not having an opinion either way. For the most part though if you're a Republican in Texas who voters don't hate, you're going to be in pretty decent shape.
For a Democrat to win in Texas they need to do 2 things: win independents by a decent sized margin, and get double digit crossover support from Republicans. Right now Davis is falling short on both of those fronts. With independents she's managing only a tie at 44%. And she's winning over only 6% of Republicans, far less than the share of Democrats who say right now that they lean toward Abbott. Of course she has a year to try to change that.
Rick Perry's retirement probably hurt Davis' prospects for being elected Governor. Perry continues to be unpopular with 45% of voters approving of the job he's doing to 50% who disapprove. Those numbers are identical to where they were in June, indicating that Perry hasn't received any sort of post retirement announcement bounce as politicians sometimes do. Perry's numbers are particularly abysmal among independents, with 34% approving of him and 60% disapproving. This is a case where Democrats might have had a better chance running against an incumbent than a new face.
There is some good news for Davis within the poll. Voters narrowly oppose the abortion law that put her in the spotlight, 40/41, including 37/48 opposition among independent voters. Concern that she may have difficulty in the election because she's seen as too liberal on that particular issue may not be warranted.
We also looked at the race for Lieutenant Governor on this poll, and that one is within single digits. Incumbent Republican David Dewhurst is at 46% to 37% for potential Democratic challenger Leticia Van de Putte.
We'll have plenty more Texas polling results over the course of the week.
Full results here