Gun control sugar daddy Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety is spending nearly $10-million this fall in an attempt to turn Texas blue, but a new poll by YouGov shows just how unpopular gun control is in the Lone Star State. Granted, the survey didn’t ask specifically about any gun control laws, but it did ask about the popularity of Texas politicians, and let’s just say Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke may be demanding a recount.
We’ll get to that in a few paragraphs, but let’s start with the good news for President Donald Trump. According to the YouGov poll, which was commissioned by the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation and Rice University’s Baker Institute, Donald Trump leads Joe Biden by seven points, 47.5% to 40.5%. Among likely voters the margin narrows, but Trump still holds a lead outside of the margin of error.
Among the most likely voters, 49.5% reported they would vote for Trump while 44.1% reported they would vote for Biden. Unsurprisingly among this more motivated set of voters, only one in twenty (5.0%) remains undecided while 1.1% and 0.3% signal they would cast a vote for Jorgensen and Hawkins respectively. When the 5.0% who were unsure were pressed on whether they were leaning a little more toward either Trump or Biden, 23.3% stated they were leaning a little more toward Trump while 15.9% indicated they were leaning a little more toward Biden, with the remaining 60.9% not signaling even a slight preference between the two.
Women make up an outsized portion of undecided voters, according to the poll, with 14% of female voters still unsure of who they’ll vote for in November, compared to just 5% of male voters (why do I have a feeling that my friend Jesse Kelly is going to have a field day with that data point?). That might give Biden/Harris a little wiggle room to pull closer as we approach Election Day, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a healthy number of these undecideds will end up in the “did not vote” column.
Now, it’s not all good news for Donald Trump and the Republican Party. According to the survey, the GOP has lost ground with Texas voters over the last four years.
In sum, one possible impact Donald Trump has had on the Texas Republican Party is that since his election in 2016 almost one in five Texans (19.2%) now has a more negative opinion of the Texas GOP than they had before his election, while only a mere 3.5% now have a more favorable opinion of the party than they did before Trump’s victory in 2016. In all, this translates into a substantive net negative shift of 15.7% for the Texas Republican Party’s evaluation by Texas voters in the Trump era.
That’s, uh, not great, though it doesn’t automatically translate in to fewer votes for Republicans. The survey didn’t measure any shift in attitudes towards the Democrats over the last four years, which is a shame, because I suspect that they too have seen a negative shift by Texas voters. Some voters may view the GOP in a more negative light than they did four years, ago, but odds are the same holds true for Democrats. In fact, it’s likely that a good portion of voters hold both parties with more contempt than they did in 2016.
I say that in part because YouGov poll did quiz respondents about the popularity of both national and state politicians, and the results aren’t good for the Left or the Right, to be honest. Vice President Mike Pence is the only national politician to have a net approval rating that’s not underwater, though Donald Trump’s net approval rating is close behind at 47.9% favorable/48.6% unfavorable.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, currently has a 39.4% favorable rating, with 52.2% of respondents viewing him unfavorably. Even worse for gun control-loving Democrats like Mike Bloomberg, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke is the least popular Texas politician according to the YouGov poll. The face of the gun control movement in Texas is viewed favorably by just 33.7% of survey respondents, and unfavorably nearly half of all those polled (another 12% claimed not have an opinion at all about O’Rourke).
O’Rourke has actually kept a fairly low profile politically in Texas this year, since his support for a candidate in a state House special election blew up in his face. Eliz Markowitz was vocally backed by O’Rourke, but ended up getting blown out by her opponent 58%-42% back in January. Still, Republicans running for the state House this fall can and will repeatedly remind voters that they’re running against the Biden/Harris/O’Rourke gun ban agenda. It’s a message that should resonate with Texas voters, and could even steer some of those undecideds into supporting Donald Trump come Election Day as well.