UT Tyler statewide poll has Biden, O’Rourke leading Trump in Texas

Texas Politics

Democratic presidential candidate former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke answers a question Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC at Texas Southern University in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Beto O’Roruke have a slight edge in Texas on a head-to-head matchup with President Trump, according to a poll released by UT Tyler’s Center for Opinion Research.

The poll was conducted following the third debate down in Houston earlier this month.

In a head-to-head setup, Biden leads Trump in Texas 40-38 while O’Rourke leads 42-40. However, it should be noted that a large number of respondents were undecided on who they would support next November.

Also, O’Rourke was the most trusted politician among Texas Democrats to handle gun policies should he becomes President.

President Trump still holds a lead in head-to-head matchups in Texas against Warren (+3), Sanders (+2), Harris (+7) and Buttigieg (+9).

UT Tyler has a history of having reliable political polls when it comes to Texas elections. Back in 2018, a poll by the university had Ted Cruz only leading O’Rourke by four points just before the election, a much closer race than most national polls.

Cruz went on to win by just 2.6 points.

The poll also found that the gun control debate could be shifting throughout the Lone Star State. A majority of Texas voters approved the following policies:

  • Requiring background checks for all gun sales (85 percent)
  • A judge taking away guns that a judge deems dangerous (65 percent)
  • Nationwide ban on high-capacity ammunition clips (61 percent)
  • Nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons (59 percent)
  • Elected officials are not doing enough to stop mass shootings (54 percent)

While the O’Rourke campaign has pounced on the UT Tyler poll, his candidacy still remains a nationwide longshot. Despite a near-record start in fundraising when he announced, his campaign stalled shortly after.

Many Democrats in Texas have urged him to drop out of the presidential race and instead challenge John Cornyn for the other Texas Senate seat. However, he has refused to do that.

In the wake of the shooting in El Paso where 22 people were gunned down, he has become arguably the most vocal candidate on drastic gun control measures.

“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15s,” he said at the debate in Houston.


The UT Tyler Texas Opinion Survey poll was conducted using random sample of the registered voters that have opted-in to take surveys through a company called Dynata. The online panel generated a sample of 1,199 registered voters during a three-day period between September 13 and September 15.

The data were weighted to be representative of the Texas register voter population. Iterative weighting was used to balance sample demographics to the state population parameters. The sample is balanced to match parameters for gender, age, race/ethnicity and education using an iterated process known as raking. These parameters were derived from 2018 Current Population Survey to reflect Texas’s electorate. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the characteristics of the sample closely reflect the characteristics of registered voters in Texas.

In this poll, the sampling error for 1,199 registered voters in Texas is +/- 2.8 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval. The survey’s design asked additional questions to 474 registered voters who identify with the Democratic Party as members or independents that lean towards the party (margin of error of +/- 4.5%).

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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