I know, it’s all ridiculously early, but what the heck. Here’s poll #1.
The 2024 election is still more than a year out, but a new poll by the University of Texas at Tyler shows Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with an advantage over his newly announced Democratic challenger, Texas Rep. Colin Allred.
Forty-two percent of respondents said they would vote for Cruz and 37% supported Allred. Seven percent indicated “someone else” and 14% responded “don’t know.”
Twenty percent of respondents said they have a very favorable impression of Cruz, 21% said somewhat favorable, 6% indicated neither, 13% said somewhat unfavorable, 36% indicated very unfavorable and 4% said they don’t know enough. Cruz’s favorability was higher among Republicans. Cruz did better among white respondents than Black respondents.
Eight percent of respondents have a very favorable impression of Allred, 13% said somewhat favorable, 12% indicated neither, 10% said somewhat unfavorable, 9% marked very unfavorable and 48% said they don’t know enough about him.
Allred announced his candidacy on May 3. Besides being a frequent critic of Cruz, Allred, 40, is a former NFL linebacker who played for the Tennessee Titans and was a football standout at Baylor University. He later got a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, before taking positions in the administration of former President Barack Obama.
Poll data is here and you can make of it what you will. This far out, people just aren’t paying much attention and you’re going to get a lot of non-answers. They did ask some questions about abortion, which I will summarize below.
Do you approve or disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade?
Strongly approve 28 Somewhat approve 14 Somewhat disapprove 9 Strongly disapprove 40 Don't know 9
Are you pleased, upset, or neither that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ruled that abortion laws could be set by each state?
Upset 45 Pleased 30 Neither 24
Should abortion be illegal in all cases, illegal in most cases, legal in most cases, or legal in all cases?
Illegal in all cases 10 Illegal in most cases 33 Legal in most cases 34 Legal in all cases 22
There are some other questions, which get into murkier and more detailed territory, but these are the ones I wanted to focus on. As I have discussed before, I think there’s a real opportunity to make abortion access a winning issue in Texas in 2024. It’s going to take some careful messaging, and there will be a real disconnect between what Democrats mostly want (basically, abortion as available as it was before the 2013 TRAP law that was later struck down was passed) and what the public broadly supports, but I believe it is doable. The fact of the matter is that abortion is basically illegal in all cases now, and this is the mainstream Republican political position both stated and implied, since they did nothing to even tweak the existing laws despite mouthing a few words in that direction last year. Yet that position is extremely unpopular in Texas. There are plenty of reasons for that disconnect, mostly because Republican voters who would prefer to have at least some abortion access keep voting for maximalist candidates. I say some of those people can be persuaded to cross over. We have no choice but to try to get them to do that.
Anyway. Poll #2 is from the Texas Hispanic Policy Forum:
Former President Donald Trump holds a comfortable lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis among Texas registered voters who say they might participate in a March 2024 Republican primary, according to new polling from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (TxHPF).
In a Texas Republican presidential primary restricted to Trump and DeSantis, 57% of Texas GOP primary voters would vote for Trump and 36% for DeSantis, with 5% undecided and 2% responding that they would not vote if Trump and DeSantis were their only two options. DeSantis announced his long-expected candidacy Wednesday and is the early favorite among several Republican candidates to emerge as Trump’s chief rival for the nomination.
“Donald Trump is the clear Republican frontrunner in Texas for now, but there is a long way to go,” said TxHPF President Jason Villalba. “Texas Republicans regard Trump favorably and he will be difficult to beat for the nomination here, but DeSantis certainly has a base of support upon which he can build. There is also time for other candidates to emerge and make this more than a two-person race for the nomination.”
Four 2024 presidential election scenarios were presented to Texas registered voters: Trump vs. President Joe Biden, DeSantis vs. Biden, Trump vs. Vice President Kamala Harris, DeSantis vs. Harris. Surveys of Texas registered voters tend to be more favorable for Democratic candidates and less favorable for Republican candidates than surveys of likely voters conducted in the months before an election.
- Trump’s vote intention (44%) surpasses that of Biden (42%) by 2 percentage points. 6% intend to vote for minor party candidates and 8% remain undecided.
- DeSantis’s vote intention (44%) surpasses that of Biden (42%) by 2 percentage points. 5% intend to vote for minor party candidates and 9% remain undecided.
- Trump’s vote intention (46%) surpasses that of Harris (39%) by 7 percentage points. 6% intend to vote for minor party candidates and 9% remain undecided.
- DeSantis’s vote intention (45%) surpasses that of Harris (40%) by 5 percentage points. 5% intend to vote for minor party candidates and 10% remain undecided.
The poll also measured the still-forming contest for the Texas seat in the U.S. Senate now held by Sen. Ted Cruz.
In a March 2024 Democratic Texas U.S. Senate primary featuring U.S. Congressman Colin Allred, State Sen. Roland Gutierrez and former Midland City Council Member John Love, 33% of Democratic primary voters would vote for Allred, 22% for Gutierrez and 4% for Love. 41% of these voters remain undecided.
Cruz leads Allred 47% to 40%, with 9% undecided and 4% voting for minor party candidates in a hypothetical November 2024 race for the Senate. However, Allred is still unknown to many voters; 49% of registered voters do not enough about Allred to have either a favorable or unfavorable opinion about him, while only 6% do not know enough about Cruz to have an opinion about the senator.
“Allred is the early leader among Democrats, but anyone who wins the Democratic nomination will have a difficult race against Cruz,” said Dr. Mark P. Jones, TxHPF Director of Research and Analytics. “It will be critical for the Democratic nominee to introduce themselves to Texans over the course of the next year and make their case for change.”
As with the first poll I don’t want to make too much out of these numbers. We have seen since 2016 that there are some number of Republicans who are willing to cross over to Democrats in some races. That was definitely true with Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020, and it was true for Ted Cruz in 2018. I see no reason why that can’t be the case next year, and you know what my blueprint for that includes. Poll data can be found here.