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Exclusive: Amid A Primary Fight, Internal Polling Shows How Republican Voters View Governor Greg Abbott

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Internal polling for Governor Greg Abbott shows he's in strong shape among Republican primary voters as he faces two major challengers in next year's primary for his re-election.

Former State Senator Don Huffines of Dallas and the outgoing Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West are running against Governor Abbott.

In a survey of 446 Republican primary voters conducted between June 14-17 by Public Opinion Strategies, 77 percent of primary voters said they would vote for the Governor, while 15 percent said they would select another Republican candidate.

On June 1, Governor Abbott received a strong endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who he appeared with in the Rio Grande Valley last week to jointly criticize President Joe Biden and his border policies.

The Governor's campaign announced Thursday, July 8 it raised $18.7 million between June between June 21-30 and has a record-setting $55 million cash on hand.

The poll found in a hypothetical primary race, Abbott won 69 percent of the vote, while West received 13 percent and Huffines had 3 percent.

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller also received 3 percent, but since the poll was conducted, he has decided against running for Governor and will instead run for re-election.

Governor Abbott fares better among those who consider themselves "strong" Republicans, who represent 61 percent of primary voters.

He received 75 percent of the vote, while West won 11 percent, and Huffines had 3 percent.

Eight percent were undecided.

Abbott received a 97 percent favorable rating and 3 percent unfavorable rating among GOP primary voters.

West received a 43 percent favorable rating and a 6 percent unfavorable rating.

Huffines has a 13 percent favorable rating and a 5 percent unfavorable rating.

The internal polling also shows 87 percent of primary voters approve the job the Governor is doing, with 60 percent strongly approving, while 12 percent disapprove.

In the DFW tv market, 89 percent of the Republican primary voters approve and 11 percent disapprove the job the Governor is doing.

The Governor has come under sharp criticism from some conservatives who have criticized how he responded to Covid-19.

They've said he didn't reopen the Texas economy soon enough, and they opposed his statewide mask mandate.

The internal polling found 91 percent of primary voters approved his handling of the pandemic, while 8 percent disapproved.

The Governor received high marks among primary voters for jobs and the economy, 91 percent-5 percent.

His border security policies won him 89 percent approval and 9 percent disapproval.

When asked for the single most important issue facing the state, the polling shows 62 percent of Republican primary voters said illegal immigration and border security.

That's far ahead of all other issues, with moral values at 8 percent, the economy at 6 percent, education and elections integrity each at 4 percent, and Covid-19 at 1 percent.

The polling was conducted nine months before the primary election which is set for March.

The 446 Republican primary voters were included in a wider survey of 800 registered voters statewide.

Among all voters, the Governor's job approval rating statewide stands at 51 percent, while 47 percent disapprove.

In the DFW television market among all voters, 52 percent approve while 46 percent disapprove.

Democrats have criticized the Governor's handling of Covid-19, saying he's not doing enough to promote the vaccine.

Many Democrats also said Abbott reopened the Texas economy too soon and didn't do enough to prevent the spread of the virus.

The internal polling found 61 percent of all voters approve of the Governor's response to the pandemic, while 36 percent disapprove.

On jobs and the economy, 64 percent of all voters approve of the Governor's performance while 29 percent disapprove.

Regarding the Governor's border security policies, 53 percent of all voters said they approved, while 41 percent disapproved.

The Governor announced June 16 more details about his plan to have the state build a border wall, including a $250 million down payment the state made on the project.

No major Democrat has announced a run for Governor just yet, but polls have shown Democrats would like former El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke to run.

The Governor's internal polling asked all voters about a hypothetical general election matchup.

Abbott received 52 percent, with 47 percent saying they would definitely vote for him.

O'Rourke received 42 percent, with 37 percent saying they would definitely vote for him.

When it comes to the Governor's image, 53 percent of all voters give him a favorable rating, while 44 percent give him an unfavorable rating.

O'Rourke's image among all voters is favorable with 39 percent of all voters according to the polling and an unfavorable rating by 46 percent of those surveyed.

When asked about the most important issue facing Texas, 33 percent of all voters statewide said illegal immigration and border security, while 10 percent said the economy, 10 percent said education, 9 percent said moral values, 9 percent said elections integrity, and 3 percent said Covid-19.

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