Wendy Davis Pulls Forward In Texas Governor Race, And It's Starting To Look Like She Just Might Beat Greg Abbott

After steadily losing support to Republican Greg Abbott over the course of four months, Wendy Davis has reversed the trend and is suddenly within single-digits of leading Abbott in the Texas governor’s race. What’s more, the number of undecided voters is more than double Abbott’s lead. Obviously, a lot can happen between now and November, but one thing is undeniable: Wendy Davis now has a serious shot at becoming the next governor of Texas.

A new poll shows Davis trailing Abbott by seven points. Obviously, it’s better to be seven points ahead than seven points behind, but considering the context, this is fantastic news for Davis.

First of all, a poll from a month ago had Abbott leading Davis by 11 points, so the race is tightening. This by itself isn’t too surprising — polling often tightens as election day comes closer. But in a survey from November, Abbott had led Davis by only six. This means that, while Abbott had steadily been growing his support in Texas over the course of a couple of months, that growth has stopped, and is now headed in Davis’s direction.

Perhaps more important than the numbers, though, is that Davis’s campaign has faced multiple controversies over the last couple of months that, by all means, should have eroded her support, not grown it. There was the revelation that she’d embellished parts of her biography, then the subsequent criticism that she hadn’t responded to that allegation quickly enough. There was her somewhat shocking statement that she could actually support a 20-week abortion ban. And there were the numerous reports that Davis’s campaign was an amateurish, unprofessional operation, with one reporter calling it “the worst at media relations that I’ve ever seen.”

These are the kinds of things that are supposed to hurt a candidate, but according to this poll, they haven’t hurt Davis. It would be premature to say that any of these things actively helped Davis (although it’s certainly possible that her abortion stance widened her appeal with Republicans in the state), but the fact that she's actually doing better after them suggests that she's a very resilient candidate.

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One more thing: This was the first poll taken after the primaries, which both Abbott and Davis won. There’s a lot more media scrutiny of candidates after they win a primary than before; this implies that the more Texans get to know Davis, the more they like her.

We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here: Davis is still behind, and it’s still going to be a tough climb. But today’s poll also showed that 17 percent of Texans are still undecided on who they’ll vote for. If, over the next eight months, Davis can convince half of them to punch the ballot for her, she’ll find herself in the governor’s mansion next year.