Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke will be facing off in their only debate before the November election on Sept. 30, exclusively broadcast by NewsNation from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg.
Abbott has centered his campaign around illegal immigration, a hot-button issue nationally and especially in Texas.
According to polling data from the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (TXHPF) and TEGNA television stations in Texas, a majority of Texas voters support arresting migrants, deploying Texas National Guard and putting Texas Department of Public Safety officers on the border.
66% of those polled approve of arresting migrants, 60% approve of deploying Texas National Guard to the border and 60% approve of putting DPS officers on the border.
Support from voters erodes when asked about building a border wall and Republican governors’ practice of busing or flying asylum seekers out of state to Democratic strongholds.
Although still a majority, only 57% responded in support of building a border wall and 54% in support of paying to send asylum seekers out of the state.
When breaking down responses by race, the TXHPF poll found a majority of white voters support Abbott’s border policies, while only 45% of Hispanic voters and 34% of Black voters do.
O’Rourke and Abbott have sparred for months, notably on the issue of gun control after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. But recently, O’Rourke shifted his campaign’s central message to abortion.
Abortions in Texas ceased following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade which eliminated the constitutional protections.
Earlier polling has shown the Supreme Court’s decision is perceived negatively by a plurality of Americans.
O’Rourke has attacked Abbott on his strict stance on the procedure and claims Abbott made saying rape victims in the state can prevent pregnancies by using emergency contraception pills such as Plan B, as reported by The Dallas Morning News.
According to TXHPF polling data, the majority of female voters support easing restrictions on abortion in Texas.
When breaking down responses by race, the poll shows overwhelming support for fewer restrictions from Black women. 58% of Hispanic women and 51% of white women also support fewer restrictions.
As Abbott’s border policies and the state’s abortion restrictions are expected to come up in the Sept. 30 debate, Texas Monthly came up with a series of hard questions of their own for both candidates that they say “need to be asked.”
NewsNation is exclusively broadcasting live national candidate debates in battleground states, including the Texas governor’s debate, the Georgia Senate candidate’s debate and the debate between Pennsylvania Senate candidates John Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz.