Last June, a poll carried out by the University of Texas revealed that Texan voters were divided on their approval of Greg Abbott’s performance as Governor, as it showed 44% approval and 44% disapproval.
The rating, in spite of dividing Texans in half, was still higher than the Texan rating for President Biden and fellow Republicans Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, House Speaker Dade Phelan, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton.
However, many important breaking points have unraveled since then, especially regarding the shift in Abbott’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the last CPAC, where conservatives conducted an informal straw, attendees were asked to pick their favorites for a possible Presidential run in 2024.
After constant backlash directed to Abbott by fellow Republicans prior to the convention for not being “conservative enough,” the poll showed the Texan Governor had 0% of GOP support.
Just weeks after, as the delta variant aggressively hit the Lonestar state causing the highest surges in cases at any point of the pandemic, Abbott started lifting restrictions and issuing an executive order prohibiting mask mandates.
The governor’s new measures, which many have described as irresponsible, had an impact on his rating on pandemic handling.
According to the Texas Tribune, Abbott earned higher marks among Texas voters regarding his COVID-19 response at the start of the pandemic, back in April 2020, when 56% of Texans approved of Abbott’s response to the pandemic, then slipping to 44% in the latest June poll.
“One of the things that benefited Greg Abbott was Donald Trump,” said Joshua Blank, research director of the Texas Politics Project. “So Donald Trump’s inability to appear to be seriously dealing with the pandemic made Abbott’s attempts early on — even if they were criticized — much much more serious-looking, both to Republicans and Democrats, and I think that’s why his numbers were so high.”
But as increasing cases and hospitalizations were met with Abbott’s orders of lifting mask mandates instead of strengthening measures, his ratings appear to fall even faster, with 18% of people “strongly approving” his handling of the pandemic, against 22% who “strongly disapproves”, as shown by the Texas Politics Project at UT.