Poll finds border security, economy top issues for Texas voters as primary looms

dfwnewsa | January 18, 2024 | 0 | politics , Texas Politics

Poll finds border security, economy top issues for Texas voters as primary looms

AUSTIN (Nexstar) – Texas voters will begin heading to the polls in just over a month for the primary elections. Early voting begins on Feb. 20 for the March 5 primary. New polling is giving early insight into how voters feel about the issues and the candidates.

The Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media poll asked 1,315 registered Texas voters about the upcoming presidential and senate primaries along with hypothetical November election scenarios.


The poll found a variety of concerns motivating Texans to vote this year. Immigration and Border Security was listed by 29% of voters as the top issue facing Texas. The economy finished second at 22%, followed by healthcare at 12% and education and abortion access both at 9%. Threats to democracy, crime and housing affordability were also named.

Among Democratic voters, a key primary race will determine who faces Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in November. In the Senate primary, 29% of Democratic voters polled plan to support Representative Colin Allred. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez trails with 7% support in the poll, just ahead of the 6% supporting Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez. A plurality of voters (37%) are undecided ahead of the March primary.

While Allred has a double-digit lead over the other Democrats in the field, the poll still shows him short of the 50% threshhold to avoid a runoff to decide the nomination.

In a hypothetical general election between Allred and Senator Ted Cruz, Cruz holds 42% of the vote over Allred’s 40%, a statistical tie considering the poll’s credibility interval of +/- 2.6 percentage points. A race between Gutierrez and Cruz appears even closer, with Cruz receiving 41% and Gutierrez receiving 40% of support. In both cases, approximately 8% of voters choose someone else, and 11% are undecided.


The poll shows that Texas voters expect a November rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the presidential election. In the primary poll, President Biden won support from 72% of Texas Democrats, giving him a strong lead for the nomination. Marianne Williamson trails with 6%, followed by 5% for Dean Phillips.

Donald Trump leads the Republican primary with 69% of support from Texas voters. He’s trailed by former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley at 11% and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 9%. Trump is also ahead in a hypothetical general election battle, claiming 49% of the vote over Biden’s 41%.

Almost 90% of people in the Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media poll said they were likely to vote in the upcoming state primary elections. That would be astonishingly high. Just 18% of registered voters participated in the 2022 primary election. In 2020, the last presidential primary year, 25% of Texas voters turned out for the March primary.

As of now, Texas is home to 17.9 million registered voters, about 81% of the voting age population. That’s over a million more potential voters than January 2020.

The Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media Texas poll was conducted January 13-15, 2024. The sample consisted of 1,315 registered voters, with a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error, of +/- 2.6 percentage points. The Democratic Senate Primary poll consisted of 460 Democratic Primary voters, with a credibility interval of +/- 4.5 percentage points.

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