A survey of 1,400 registered Texas voters conducted by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston suggests that Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton will likely win their primaries. 

Among the eight Republican Gubernatorial candidates in the March primary, Abbot was the most supported, with 62% of the respondents choosing the incumbent as the preferred candidate.  

The nearest candidate to Abbott was Allen West, who received support from 14% of respondents. “Unsure” was the third-most popular option, chosen by 13% of voters polled.

According to the data, AG Paxton is leading his race against three opponents but holds a less significant margin than Abbott. 

The poll suggests that Paxton’s opponents may be able to garner enough votes to force a runoff election. However, according to Mark Jones, Paxton will still be the likely winner. Jones is a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute and a senior research associate at Houston’s Hobby School.

“The fact that Donald Trump continues to endorse [Paxton] and support him, with Trump being the most popular political figure among Texas Republican primary voters, pretty much is pushing Paxton towards a first-round victory on March 1,” Jones said

Paxton received 44% of support from Republicans likely to vote in the primary. “Unsure” was the second-most chosen option, selected by 21% of respondents. Louie Gohmert was Paxton’s closest competitor with 15% of the vote. 

On the Democratic side, Beto O’Rourke was the clear frontrunner, with 82% of likely voters in the Democratic Gubernatorial primary choosing him as their preferred option. None of the four other candidates in the race received more than 2% of the vote, and 12% of respondents said they were still “unsure.”

The poll revealed that Democratic candidates in other races may have a problem with name recognition. 

In every other race polled, over 50% of likely Democratic primary voters said they were “unsure,” despite the early voting period beginning just a few weeks from now. 

“They simply don’t know anything about most of the Democratic candidates,” Jones said, “Which means that you can have a lot of people probably casting their vote in two weeks when early voting starts with very limited information, perhaps just basing their vote on the name of the person.”

For the November Gubernatorial election, the data shows that Republican candidate Greg Abbott would likely defeat front-running Democratic nominee Beto O’Rourke.

According to the survey, 48% of likely voters said they would choose Abbott, compared to 43% that selected O’Rourke.  

“I think at least what it’s signaling now is that we’re looking for a continuation of the Republican statewide winning streak that dates back to 1996, with none of the Democrats able to win in November,” Jones said.

Early voting for the primary begins on February 14, with Election Day set for March 1.