The Brief: Abbott Keeps Double-Digit Lead in UT/TT Poll

Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.
Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Republican statewide candidates at the top of the ticket hold double-digit leads on their Democratic rivals, paced by Greg Abbott who is up 12 points on Wendy Davis in the race for governor, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Abbott was preferred by 44 percent of survey respondents with Davis preferred by 32 percent. The spread is similar to Abbott's 11-point advantage in February's edition of the poll. Abbott's lead among male voters was 14 points while his lead among female voters was 10 points.

“Abbott remains strong and this, in a lot of ways, confirms the strategy that we’ve seen from his camp: Leave well enough alone,” said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin and co-director of the UT/TT Poll. “The Davis campaign seems to be not able to reverse the trend.”

Here are some other results of note:

•    In the race for lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick leads Leticia Van de Putte by a 41 percent to 26 percent margin. In the attorney general race, Ken Paxton leads Sam Houston by 40 percent to 27 percent. And in the land commissioner race, George P. Bush leads John Cook by 36 percent to 25 percent.

•    Democrats might take heart in some of the results. In the U.S. Senate race, longtime incumbent John Cornyn was at 36 percent support and led David Alameel by 11 points. But 26 percent were undecided. And Democrats were within single digits in three statewide contests: comptroller, agriculture commissioner and railroad commissioner.

•    Ted Cruz easily led the GOP field on a presidential preference question. He was named by 33 percent. No one else cracked 10 percent. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton dominated the Democratic field where she was preferred by 64 percent.

The Day Ahead

•    The Senate Veteran Affairs & Military Installations Committee meets at 12:30 p.m. at the Port of Houston. In addition to addressing a pair of interim charges, the panel will also look at the allegations of manipulated wait times at VA facilities. (agenda)

•    The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents meets via teleconference at 1 p.m. to discuss the appointment of its new chancellor. State Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, last month was named sole finalist for the position.

Today in the Trib

Republicans See a Chance to Win Houston-Area District: "With state Rep. Ron Reynolds preparing to stand trial in late summer on criminal and civil charges related to an alleged elaborate kickback scheme, Republicans see a chance to take back a district long held by Democrats."

Must-Read

Wendy Davis’ campaign for governor undergoes shake-up, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Dallas duel could emerge in contest to replace Cantor, The Dallas Morning News

Chasnoff: Democrats hope to avoid collisions, San Antonio Express-News

Texas Lawmaker Investigated Over Campaign Donations, The New York Times

Bill for UT regent investigation topping $300,000, The Dallas Morning News

Texas appeals judge: Court endangers rights of non-English speakers, Austin American-Statesman

Cantor defeat could imperil highway bill, The Hill

Eric Cantor's Pollster Tries to Explain Why His Survey Showed Cantor Up 34 Points, National Journal

Quote to Note

“The conventional wisdom was the campaign wasn’t going anywhere and Wendy couldn’t win. She had to shake up the campaign and change the narrative.”

— Former Democratic Land Commissioner and 1998 nominee for governor Garry Mauro on why Wendy Davis needed to shake up her campaign staff.

Today in TribTalk

Obamacare isn't working in Texas, by John Davidson: "The Obama administration announced in April that more than 8 million Americans had signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Debate over the law, President Obama said, 'is and should be over.' But in Texas, the debate is far from over — and that’s a good thing."

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Texas Tribune Festival runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin. Tickets are on sale now.