Everyone knows Greg Abbott, the Texas Attorney General who's running for governor, right? Maybe Texas voters are aware of Abbott, but what do they think about him? Not much, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. It’s not that voters don’t have a high regard for Abbott, they just have no opinion at all. For those of us who follow Texas politics closely, Abbott seems to already be anointed as the next Texas Governor. He’s running in a state full of Republican voters, with a strong Tea Party element, with only one primary opponent (who voters probably don’t know at all) and, so far, no announced Democratic opponent. A shoo-in for sure! But can you be a shoo-in if most of the voters say they have “no opinion” about you
- Overall, 51 percent of voters have no opinion of him [Abbott}
- Among Republicans, 46 percent had no opinion and among weak Republicans, 59 percent had no opinion
- Among Independents, 55 percent had no opinion
- Among self-described moderates, 64 percent had no opinion of Abbott
- Among those who describe themselves as “leaning conservative,” 55 percent had no opinion of him
- 64 percent of Hispanics, 46 percent of Anglos and 54 percent of African Americans had no opinion of him
- Even among Tea Party identifiers — those who know the most about Abbott and view him favorably — 38 percent had no opinion of him.
Even with relatively high name identification, candidates need to define themselves and generate some enthusiasm among voters. Evidently Abbott has some work to do, but he does have about $20 million to use in the effort. He might want to get started while he has no opposition. Once the Democrats name a candidate, that candidate will try to define Abbott for the voters.
State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) is still the Democrats' candidate of choice, but she has made no announcements about her political future. She was in today’s news with a victory over AG Abbott on the legal front. Back in 2011 Davis successfully sued the state over redistricting her state senate district. According to the Houston Chronicle’s Texas Politics blog, a three-judge panel just ruled that she was entitled to collect attorney fees from the state for the suit. So she beat Abbott in court, but can she convince enough voters to go from “no opinion” about Abbott to a negative opinion? That’s the question she is undoubtedly pondering as she considers her political future.