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Poll Says Abbott Leading Davis By 9 Points Going Into Tuesday's Debate At KERA

Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis, debated at KERA studios Tuesday night.

A statewide poll says Republican Greg Abbott went into Tuesday night’s governor’s debate at KERAleading Democrat Wendy Davis by nine points.

That’s less of a lead than internal Abbott campaign polls recently showed, but a difficult gap for Davis to makeup with just five weeks until the November 4 election. 

It is unclear whether the Tuesday debate where candidates wrangled over ethics, school testing, Medicaid coverage, and immigration affected voter preference.

The Texas Lyceum Poll, with a 3.8 percent margin of error, showed Abbott with a strong lead among Anglo voters and a slim two-point lead among women, who Davis has heavily courted.

Davis had large majorities of support among Hispanics and African Americans.

The poll found immigration to be the most important issue for Texans.

During the debate, broadcast in every Texas TV market, the candidates were asked if they supported a driving permit for undocumented immigrants in the state.

Abbott said no, that a state permit might be in conflict with federal law.

“I think that before we go down the pathway of trying to create these differentiated types of drivers’ licenses we need to make sure that we’re complying with federal law and not providing licenses that others could use for inappropriate purposes,” Abbott said.

Davis on drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants

Davis supports the driving permits citing several states that have them. She said providing them in Texas would protect the public.

“People are driving on our roads across our state today who do not have the appropriate training and are not insured.  Unless we as a state create some system that provides a driver permit for every driver on the road we cannot assure those two things,” said Davis.

You can view the entire debate between Abbott and Davis at   

The Texas Lyceum poll also questioned Texans about other issues and contests and found Democrat Leticia Van De Putte trailing Republican Dan Patrick 47 to 33 in the race for lieutenant governor.  

Former KERA staffer Shelley Kofler was news director, managing editor and senior reporter. She is an award-winning reporter and television producer who previously served as the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.