Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza are almost tied ahead of this year’s midterms, a poll released Monday shows.
The Dallas Morning News-University of Texas at Tyler poll found Paxton leading Garza 34 to 32 percent among Texas voters, within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
Paxton and Garza both garnered the bulk of their support from their own party, with 68 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans saying they’d back their party’s nominee in the race.
Slightly more Democrats would support Paxton (9 percent) than Republicans would support Garza (7 percent). Garza had a 5-point lead among independents.
Among those who support Garza, a former American Civil Liberties Union attorney, 13 percent reported what they most like about her is that she’s “not Paxton,” the second most popular reason after her party affiliation. The next-highest cited reason for supporting Garza was “honesty/trust,” at 12 percent, which was cited less often as a reason for supporting Paxton, at 6 percent.
The most-cited reason for supporting Paxton was his Republican affiliation, followed by “Good AG” and “conservative.”
Forty-one percent of Texas voters said they “approved” or “strongly approved” of Paxton’s job performance, while 40 percent said they “disapproved” or “strongly disapproved.”
Paxton has been embroiled in legal trouble in recent months.
He was sued by the Texas State Bar earlier this year for trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. A district attorney in the state also said Paxton violated Texas open records law by not releasing certain communications related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots. Paxton and his wife reportedly attended a rally in support of former President Trump on Jan. 6.
Paxton was also indicted for securities fraud shortly after taking office, and investigated by the FBI over whether he abused his office to help a campaign donor. He’s denied the accusations.
Respondents were evenly split on whether they agreed or disagreed that, “in light of recent headline news” about Paxton, “he has the integrity to serve as attorney general,” at 34 percent each. Thirty-two percent of respondents reported being unsure.
Conducted Aug. 1 to Aug. 7, the poll surveyed 1,384 registered voters, of which 33 percent reported being Democrats and 40 percent reported being Republicans. Twenty-seven percent said they were affiliated with neither party.