New poll shows border security, economy top issues for Texas voters

TYLER, Texas (Nexstar) — Some issues Texas voters care about most this election are some of the key campaign issues Republicans are running on.

According to a new University of Texas at Tyler Poll, which surveyed just under 1,000 registered voters, these are the issues most important to them ahead of the 2022 midterm election:

  1. Securing the border
  2. Economy/inflation
  3. Reproductive rights
  4. Education
  5. Restricting abortion
  6. Reducing crime
  7. Electric grid
  8. Climate change
  9. Gun rights
  10. Immigration

This poll shows incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is still ahead of Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. Among likely voters, 50% said they’d vote for Abbott, while 44% said they’d choose O’Rourke.

The majority of voters feel Abbott will do a better job at securing the border over O’Rourke — something Abbott has made a key issue of his 2022 midterm election campaign. O’Rourke has focused more on common-sense gun legislation and abortion rights.

The race for lieutenant governor is less close than the race for governor. Forty-four percent are likely to vote for Republican incumbent Dan Patrick over his Democratic challenger Mike Collier. Thirty-three percent said they’d vote for Collier.

The race for attorney general has a more narrow margin than any other major race, according to the poll. Incumbent Ken Paxton (R) only leads his Democratic opponent Rochelle Garza by four points, according to the UT Tyler poll.

We caught up with a few early voters on Monday to get their thoughts on the new poll.

“Wow,” voter David Ramos said. “Some of the issues that are more important to me are down to the bottom. I think climate change should be at the top. I think women’s constitutional rights should be way at the top. The number one issue for us is education.”

Another voter, Dave Hood, said he’s pleased other Texans’ top issues align with his own.

“For me, it’s all about the economy,” Hood said.

The top issues from the poll do reflect candidates’ campaigns and voters know it.

“I did choose my candidates based on that, yes,” voter Rebecca Stephens said.

We asked UT Tyler political science professor Mark Owens if the results favor one side over the other when it comes to statewide races.

“It doesn’t favor one group more,” Owens said. “Individuals across the state are paying attention to the election at different times. It really is interesting to watch these candidates move through and talk about issues to know what engages the electorate.”

According to Owens, it wouldn’t be wise to jump to conclusions about poll results just yet.

“We can’t quite predict who will win,” Owens said. “It’s the question about where things are going to shape up.”

Owens said new voters who show up to the poll could have an influence over top issues that are most important among Texans right now.