UT Tyler Office of Marketing and Communications

UT Tyler/Dallas Morning News Poll Reveals Texas Voters Concerned About Economy and COVID-19

October 26, 2020

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
Senior Director of Media Relations
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler

A new poll by The University of Texas at Tyler and The Dallas Morning News revealed the economy and the coronavirus are the most influential issues on the minds of Texas voters.

“When asked which candidate would be best at handling the economy, Texas voters prefer President Donald Trump 53-46,” said Dr. Mark Owens, associate professor of political science and director of the UT Tyler Center for Opinion Research. “However, voters are also concerned with public health, and only 45 percent of the voters had a fair amount or great deal of confidence in President Trump to keep our communities healthy and safe from the coronavirus.”

When asked the same question, 53 percent of Texas voters indicated that they trusted Gov. Greg Abbott to keep communities healthy and safe during the pandemic.

The survey results show that Texas is a battleground, and the final result will depend on the enthusiasm of voters, which will drive them to the polls as early voting continues, said Owens.

Results indicate the race between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is neck and neck among likely voters (48-45) and all registered voters (48-46) with Biden having a slight lead.

The poll also shows the Sen. John Cornyn is maintaining an 8 percent lead over challenger MJ Hegar.

“Across the six polls of Texas voters that the Dallas Morning News and UT Tyler have done this year, the expectation has continued to be that the election in Texas will be within single digits,” Owens said. “Another consistent finding is that with the continued population growth in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, East Texas has become even more important region for the outcome of this election.”

President Trump has 64 percent support among voters in East Texas. The UT Tyler/Dallas Morning News Poll shows that the East Texas region still supports President Trump at a similar rate as we saw at the polls in 2016, he said.

Election in East Texas

  • Voter enthusiasm is 5 percent higher in East Texas than the state average.
  • Of the respondents who took the survey, 43 percent had already voted during the first week of early voting. In East Texas, ballots cast during the first week of early voting favored the incumbent President Trump (73-27). Other East Texans are holding off on voting until they have a full view of the candidates.
  • East Texas voters who planned to vote during the second and third week of early voting still supported President Trump, but at lower levels (52-38). Consistent with previous elections, the poll suggests most of the votes on Election Day will favor President Trump (69-22).
  • These responses are based on 78 surveys from the counties encompassed within the upper and lower East Texas region.

The past two weeks have shown that Texans have remained civically engaged throughout this election season, and that is certainly true during early voting, as well. The important take-away is that the election is not over. Texas still has one more week of early voting before all precincts open to voters on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Owens said.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered to nearly 10,000 students. Classified by Carnegie as a doctoral research institution and by U.S. News and World Report as a National University and a Top Public University, UT Tyler has campuses in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.