Poll finds Abbott leads Davis by 8 points (or more?) in Texas governor race

Greg Abbott

The first poll of the Texas governor’s race since reports indicated that state senator Wendy Davis would announce her candidacy shows current Attorney General Greg Abbott leads the race by 8 points. 29% of respondents to the Lyceum poll support Abbott, 21% support Davis, and 50% are unsure.

While the uncommitted number might be surprising at first, especially given media coverage of the abortion filibuster earlier this year, both Abbott and Davis are largely unknown even in the state. A previous Public Policy Polling survey of potential candidates found 43% with no opinion of Abbott and 32% for Davis. That poll, conducted in July, showed a 48-40 lead for Abbott over Davis, with only 12% unsure.

However, there is reason to be skeptical about the new poll’s accuracy (without veering into party ID trutherism). Lyceum also asked registered Texas voters their opinion of President Obama, and 50% said they approve.

[pause for laughter]

This is, of course, absurd. Nationally, Obama has an average of only 45% approval. In no version of reality do Texas voters have a more favorable opinion of the current President than the nation as a whole. The Obama approval and Abbott/Davis results cannot both be true. Assuming Obama’s approval in Texas is closer to 40-45%, Abbott probably leads by more than 8 points. However, the 50% uncertainty in the poll makes it practically useless anyway.

With Davis’s candidacy scheduled to be announced Thursday, we will likely see many more polls of the race soon, hopefully with less questionable results.

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