New polling from the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler shows the number of undecided voters shrinking as we near the March 1 primary.
And the race for governor in the fall may be heating up too.
With just nine days until the March primary, the preferences for engaged voters heading to the polls may be coming into sharper focus and that could mean a longer campaign for incumbent Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Paxton, seeking a third term, needs 50% plus one to avoid a May 24 runoff.
The latest Dallas Morning News / UT-Tyler poll finds Paxton with a 39% to 25% lead over Land Commissioner George P Bush with Eva Guzman at 7% and Tyler Congressman Louie Gohmert at 6%.
News from around the state of Texas.
Matthew Wilson, an SMU Political Science professor, added a runoff seems more likely because in the poll conducted Feb. 8 - 15 found 16% of GOP voters indicated they are undecided.
“When you’re facing three credible challengers within your own party it’s difficult to avoid a runoff,” Wilson said.
Texas already has seven days of early voting complete in races that typically are decided by a relatively small amount of the most passionate Republican and Democrat voters.
And what about November?
Both Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Democrat challenger Beto O’Rourke have comfortable primary leads but their head-to-head comparison this fall may be tightening.
A DMN/UT-Tyler poll released three weeks ago found Abbott with an 11-percentage point advantage that has now contracted to 45% to 38% over the former El Paso congressman.
However, the polling indicates Abbott’s lead over O’Rourke has consistently stayed between 5% and 12% for months.
“Unless you see a really significant move from one poll to the other, there’s some possibility that it really is just a fluctuation based on random chance,” Wilson said.
IMPORTANT ELECTION DATES
Oct. 24 - First day of early voting
Nov. 4 - Last day of early voting
Nov. 8 - Election Day and the last day to receive a ballot by mail that is not postmarked (7 p.m.).
Nov. 9 (5 p.m.) - Last day to receive a ballot by mail that was postmarked by 7 p.m. on Nov. 8