Texas
Why can´t Beto against Abbott?
By Mark P. Jones
With 40 days to go before the election, the El Paso Democrat has the same number of votes as in January. Older whites vote more than Latinos and young people. How do women vote?

In person early voting in Texas begins in four weeks and election day is a mere seven weeks away. And, after months on the campaign trail, over $20 million in expenditures, and the potentially favorable exogenous shocks provided by the Uvalde massacre in May and the Dobbs decision in June, Beto O'Rourke finds himself roughly where he was in January of 2022: between seven and 10 percentage points behind Governor Greg Abbott in the polls.

Abbott owes his lead over O'Rourke to his notably greater support among white voters, among male voters and among older voters, and his ability to remain close (albeit behind) O'Rourke among Latino voters and among female voters. Abbott is also aided by the fact that two groups that support him over O'Rourke by large margins, white voters and older voters, will account for a disproportionate share of the actual voters this fall compared to their share of the overall Texas population.

A Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation poll that was in the field between September 6 and September 15 found O'Rourke to be trailing Abbott in the gubernatorial race by 7% among likely voters (51% to 44%) and by 10% among those voters who are the most likely to turn out in November (53% vs. 43%). Furthermore, very few voters (3% of likely voters and 2% of the most likely voters) are still undecided about who to vote for at this stage in the campaign. And, an overwhelming majority of Abbott (95%) and O'Rourke (94%) voters indicate that they are absolutely certain that they will be voting for them in November, with only 5% and 6% respectively saying they might change their mind.

Los latinos y la reelección de Abbott 

White Texans account for 39% of the Texas population, but will comprise between 55% and 60% of the voters this fall. Latino Texans account for 40% of the Texas population, but will comprise only between 25% and 30% of voters this fall. This divergence is due to the greater proportion of Latinos than Anglos who are under the age of 18, who are non-citizens, who are not registered to vote, and who will not turn out to vote this fall even though they are registered to vote. Black Texans account for 12% of the Texas population and will comprise between 11 and 13% of the actual voters this fall, proportional to their share of the population.

White Texans and Latino Texans each make up about 40% of the population, but whites are much more likely to vote. This fundamental divergence is due to the higher proportion of Latinos who are under the age of 18, are not citizens, are not registered to vote, and will not turn out to vote despite being registered.

Abbott owes his 7% lead over O'Rourke in the polls due to two factors related to ethnicity/race. First, Abbott holds a nearly two to one advantage over O'Rourke in support among Anglo (non-Hispanic white) Texans, 63% to 33%. Second, Abbott continues to perform well among Texas Hispanics, with a vote intention of 39% among Hispanics compared to that of 53% for O'Rourke. O'Rourke dominates among Black Texans, 79% to 16%, but as Black Texans represent only around 12% of actual voters, it does not make up for his deficit within the Anglo population that will provide more than four times as many actual voters.

Women Texans account for 50% of the Texas population and men 40%, but women will account for between 54% and 55% of voters this fall compared to 45% to 46% for men.

Abbott owes his 7% lead over O'Rourke in the polls due to two factors related to gender. First, Abbott enjoys a significant 18% lead over O'Rourke among men, 57% to 39%. Second, Abbott trails O'Rourke by only 2% among women, 46% to 48%.

In regard to generations, 30% of the adult Texas population belongs to the combined Silent Generation (born between 1928-1945) and Baby Boomers (1946-1964) cohort, 24% to Generation X (Gen-X) (1965-1980), 31% to the Millennial (1981-1996) generation and 15% to Generation Z (1997-2004).

In regard to likely voters however, approximately 40% of the voters who are likely to turn out to vote this fall belong to the combined Silent Generation and Baby Boomers (1946-1964) cohort, 26% to Generation X, 26% to the Millennial generation and 8% to Generation Z (1997-2004).

Abbott has a nearly two-to-one lead over O'Rourke in support among white Anglos (63% to 33%) and continues to do well among Hispanics in Texas, with 39% voting intent among Hispanics in compared to 53% for Beto.

Abbott owes his 7% lead over O'Rourke primarily due to four factors related to generation. First, is Abbott's substantial 18% advantage over O'Rourke among the combined Silent Generation/Baby Boomer cohort, 57% to 39%. Second, is the substantially larger share of the actual voting public this fall that will turn out to vote comprised by the Silent Generation/Boomer cohort (40%) compared to its share of the adult population in Texas (30%). Third, is Abbott's substantial 15% advantage among Generation X, 56% to 41%. Fourth, is the substantially smaller share of the actual voting public this fall that will turn out to vote comprised by Generation Z (8%) compared to its share of the adult population in Texas (15%). 

O'Rourke enjoys a massive 44 percentage point advantage among Generation Z, 67% to 23%, but unfortunately for O'Rourke when it comes to the actual voters this fall, the Silent Generation/Baby Boomer cohort is five times larger than the Generation Z cohort. Millennials will account for one-fourth of voters this fall, but O'Rourke's advantage over Abbott among them is only 7%, 49% to 42%.

O'Rourke enjoys a whopping 44 percentage point lead among Gen Z (67% vs. 23%) but unfortunately for him when it comes to actual voters this fall, the Silent Generation/Baby Boomer sum is five times that than that of Generation Z.

Texas governor maintains the strong support of older, white and male Texans, while staying close to Beto O'Rourke among Latino and female Texans. This, combined with higher turnout rates by older and white Texans, have provided Abbott with a substantial, albeit not massive, lead over O'Rourke that has held firm throughout 2022.

While it would be unwise to count O'Rourke completely out, with seven weeks to go until election day, time is running out for O'Rourke to close the two goal lead Abbott has over him. Barring the occurrence of some type of unlikely black swan event (such as another Uvalde type school massacre or a statewide electrical blackout) O'Rourke's slim hopes of victory quite likely hinge on mobilizing Generation Z, and, to a lesser extent, younger Millennials, to turn out at a rate and in numbers never before seen for younger voters in the Lone Star State. That scenario is theoretically possible of course, but like the prospect of the Tri winning the Mundial en Qatar, it is very unlikely to actually occur.

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