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If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Over the years, many politicians have embraced this adage when it comes to running for higher office – and in some cases even winning – but former MP Beto O’Rourke took it to another level . On Monday he has announced his candidacy for governor of Texas in 2022, which will mark the third straight electoral cycle in which he ran for a key office (he had a disappointing run in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary but came close to beating Republican Senator Ted Cruz in the 2018 Texas Senate race).
But despite O’Rourke’s tight graduation in 2018, he’s still a Democrat has not won a state-wide race in Texas since 1994, and with the national environment likely to be Republican-friendly in 2022, O’Rourke could face an even tougher campaign this time around. Even so, Republican Governor Greg Abbott is no longer as popular as he used to be, so maybe we shouldn’t rush to write O’Rourke off.
After his Re-election in 2018, Abbott’s job admission rating was clearly positive (approval rating minus disapproval rating), but recent polls suggest that his reputation has deteriorated so that more registered voters in Texas disapprove than approve of Abbott’s performance.
Abbott’s consent slide has several causes. First his handling of the pandemic got a lot of criticism from every corner of the state, and a poll in late September from Quinnipiac University found that more Texas voters (50 percent) disapproved of his handling of the pandemic than approved (46 percent). Second, voters in Texas still seem disappointed with his administration’s decisions Reaction to the winter storms last February and the failure of the state power grid. Earlier this month, a Survey conducted by YouGov On behalf of the University of Texas-Austin and The Texas Tribune, found that 60 percent of Texas voters disapproved of the reliability of the network of heads of state and the legislature, which was the highest negative rating for any question asked in the poll. Finally, Abbott’s numbers could also have suffered after the GOP’s push in Texas to essentially ban abortion as well allows the concealed carrying of handguns without permission – both laws Abbott enacted. A Dallas Morning News / University of Texas Tyler Poll from early September found 50 percent of registered voters opposed to concealed wearing without permission, while the Quinnipiac poll found 53 percent disapproved of Abbott’s handling of abortions.
So it’s no wonder that the launch video because O’Rourke’s campaign touched on the blackout of the power grid as well as Texass new abortion and covert transportation laws. And these issues could be a way for O’Rourke to attract independent voters who are particularly unhappy with Abbott’s handling of these issues. For example the recent UT Austin / Texas Tribune / YouGov poll found that 57 percent of independents opposed it Abbott’s performance, and Quinnipiac and Dallas Morning News / UT-Tyler polls found that a majority or majority of Independents generally disapproved of Abbott’s handling of the pandemic, abortion, and covert transmission law.
But while Texans aren’t thrilled with Abbott’s performance as governor, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily inclined to favor O’Rourke. Abbott has an early lead on O’Rourke in horse racing polls: the UT-Austin / Texas Tribune / YouGov poll found Abbott is 9 percentage points ahead of O’Rourke, while the Dallas Morning News / UT-Tyler poll found Abbott one 5 point edge in September.
However a Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation survey The October study by Rice University found that Abbott and O’Rourke even walked among the registered voters, and voters disliked the two of them either (47 percent said they had a negative opinion of everyone). At the same time, however, slightly more voters supported Abbott (49 percent) than O’Rourke (44 percent). And in Quinnipiac’s poll, while only 42 percent of registered voters believed Abbott deserved to be re-elected, only 33 percent thought O’Rourke was a good governor – including 26 percent of the independents.
Those weaker numbers for O’Rourke underscore some of his potential weaknesses as a candidate. O’Rourke is not only a Democrat in Republican-influenced Texas, but has positioned himself to be that on a number of issues could hurt him in the Lone Star State. Most notable is the answer to a question about gun control at a presidential debate in September 2019Said O’Rourke, “Damn it, yeah we’ll take your AR-15, your AK-47,” essentially wrote Republican attack reports for them in a state with a many gun owners. And beyond gun control issues, Abbott’s campaign was just too happy O’Rourke with excerpts from the earlier praise of the Democrats for the Green New Deal and the opposition to the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border. With a massive $ 55 million in his campaign account, Abbott will be able to mask the airwaves, social media and websites with ads targeting O’Rourke on these vulnerabilities as well.
Finally, and most importantly, the political environment in 2022 is likely to serve Abbott far more than O’Rourke. When O’Rourke almost won his Senate contest in 2018, he benefited from very favorable, democratic electoral conditions – namely, that there was a Republican president in office who was unpopular. This time around, things will likely be on the other foot: Republicans will run a Democrat in the White House, and if current trends continue, an unpopular one at that. And even if President Biden is not as unpopular in the fall of 2022 as the former President Trump in the fall of 2018, a medium-term environment still puts the party in the White House at a disadvantage. This also applies to gubernatorial elections, if not quite so nationalized or polarized as a federal election. The President’s party has lost governor in 16 out of 19 mid-term elections since World War II. This means that it will be difficult for the party of the president to win new governor’s posts, especially in states that are already leaning towards the opposing party.
In other words, O’Rourke will try to do what he couldn’t in 2018 or 2020 – win – under arguably even more difficult circumstances. If O’Rourke gets to a higher office one day, it may have to happen at some point after 2022 – when he’s ready to keep trying.
Other polling bites
- A poll conducted in October by Republican polling firm Echelon Insights on behalf of the Center for Election Innovation and Research found that Republican and Trump continued to doubt the legitimacy of the American electoral system. Almost two-thirds said they were not very confident, or not at all, that the 2020 election results were counted correctly. compared to only 7 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Independents. Even more worrying, 53 percent of Republicans and Trump voters are unsure that the results will be counted accurately in next year’s mid-term election, compared with 9 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of Independents.
- The newest ABC News / The Washington Post poll found that a large majority of Americans wanted the increasingly conservative Supreme Court to recognize the status quo on the right to abortion. Sixty percent said the Supreme Court ruled the Roe v. Wade was asked to affirm a constitutional right to abortion, compared with just 27 percent who wanted it to be repealed. And 65 percent said the court should oppose recent Texas law restricting access to abortions to the first six weeks of pregnancy, while only 29 percent said the law should be upheld.
- Gallup found American support for stricter gun laws has fallen to its lowest level since 2014. While 52 percent were still in favor of stricter gun laws, that represents a significant decrease from the 64 percent who held that position in 2019. The decline in support for stricter gun laws since that time is due to both a decline in already comparatively low Republican support and a decline among Independents, whose support fell from 64 percent in 2019 to 45 percent.
- Vermont Republican Governor Phil Scott is the country’s most popular governor, according to new data published by Morning Consult. Between late July and late October, Scott’s job approval rating was 79 percent among registered voters, 7 points ahead of the next candidate, Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker. At the other end of the spectrum, Democratic Governor Kate Brown of Oregon had 43 percent approval, the lowest of all governors. Despite Scott’s popularity, he has turned down interest in running for the Vermont Senate seat (after retirement of Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy), likely because Vermont remains a very democratic state at the federal level.
- American support for the use of the death penalty against convicted murderers is at its lowest in nearly 50 years, according to Gallup. While 54 percent still supported the use of the death penalty in such cases, that number is dramatically different from the 80 percent who supported its use in 1994. But as with most issues, support for the death penalty shows 77 percent of Republicans support it, compared with 55 percent of Independents and 34 percent of Democrats.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s Presidential Approval Tracker, 42.5 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s job as president, while 51.6 percent disapprove (a net approval rating of -9.1 points). At this point in the past week, 42.5 percent were approved and 51.6 percent rejected (a net approval rating of -9.1 points). A month ago, Biden had an approval rating of 44.8 percent and a disapproval rate of 49.5 percent (a net approval rating of -4.7 points).
On our average of the general polls in Congressional polls, Republicans currently lead Democrats with 0.6 percentage points (42.5 percent and 41.9 percent, respectively). A week ago, the Democrats led the Republicans by 1.3 percentage points (42.5 percent and 41.2 percent, respectively). At that time last month, voters preferred the Democrats to the Republicans with 2.8 points (44.3 percent versus 41.5 percent).