If this is an outlier, it’s certainly an entertaining one. According to an eight-day survey conducted by YouGov along with its media partners CBS and the New York Times, Republican Greg Abbott has an eighteen point lead in the Texas gubernatorial race, 53/35, over Democrat Wendy Davis. Davis trails Abbott by 24 points among men, but now surprisingly trails by double digits among women as well, 37/49 — nearly a majority of women in opposition to the female candidate. Abbott leads by more than a 2:1 margin among independents as well, 58/25. When leaners are added in, Abbott wins a majority of women, 52/40, and has a 20-point lead overall, 57/37.
Texas, which once was the focus of rebuilding efforts for Democrats, appears like a setback for Democrats instead. They’ve lost women, if this poll is accurate, and may not be holding onto their usual edge among Hispanics. Davis only has a narrow 46/39 lead in that demographic, and that narrows slightly to 49/43 when leaners are included. Among “others,” presumably Asian voters, Abbott has a double-digit lead without leaners (49/37) and with them (52/37). John Cornyn puts up similar numbers in the Senate tracking poll against David Alameel.
One of the more intriguing questions that the midterm will answer will be just how accurate the YouGov polls turned out to be. Usual polling partners CBS and the NYT teamed up with YouGov this year to expand their reach on midterm contests, and the results have been provocative, to say the least. Ashe Schow points out the contrast between this poll conducted over the last two weeks in Texas and others conducted prior to the stretch run — even those conducted by YouGov:
Of course, one should keep an open mind about this poll, considering the difference between the number of Democratic women and Republican women polled was — unsurprisingly — 12 points. This poll, conducted between Oct. 16 and Oct. 23, is also wildly different from past polls by the same groups, which showed a much closer divide among women.
The previous poll from this group, conducted between Sept. 20 and Oct. 1, found Davis leading among women — 46 percent to Abbott’s 41 percent. She still trailed Abbott overall by 13 points.
And the poll before that, conducted between Aug. 18 and Sept. 2, found Davis losing women voters by just 1 point.
There may be a good explanation for the shift in October. This survey took place just a few days after Davis launched what may be the worst campaign ad of the cycle, accusing Abbott of profiting off of his disability and implying that his identity as a a handicapped person was not authentic. In the middle of the survey period, Davis personally attacked Abbott as someone opposed to interracial marriage, which had to be news to Abbott’s Latina wife. The stink of desperation hung all over this survey period, and women may have been more offended than men at Davis’ tactics.
At least in terms of its top-line figure, the YouGov poll doesn’t appear to be that much of an outlier. The current RCP average (with this poll included) is 51.6/37.4 Abbott, but only one poll in the last two months show Davis within single digits — and that was taken in the middle of September, long before the reek of desperation became obvious. Davis may still think that she’ll be governor of Texas, but she’s the only one who does so. Not even Texas women are signing onto her “war on women” demagoguery, among the many varieties of that practice that Davis has offered in this election.