Cygnal Poll: Cornyn Leads Hegar by Eight Points, Defund the Police and O’Rourke Unpopular

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two weeks from election day, a poll conducted by Cygnal, a national survey research and polling firm, shows John Cornyn strongly leading the Senate race in Texas by 8 points. Cornyn, the Republican incumbent, is facing M.J. Hegar. 

“Cornyn has all of the advantages of incumbency on top of a +9 net favorability. National Democrats’ late ad push can’t help M.J. Hegar pull off an upset,” said Brent Buchanan, Cygnal’s CEO and founder. “Texas is more competitive, but it’s still an uphill battle for Democrats when Texans prefer the generic Republican on the congressional ballot by 7 points.”

The Cygnal survey, conducted October 18 – 19, with 600 likely general election voters, shows Cornyn leading Hegar 49% to 41%, with 7% of voters still undecided. Cygnal conducted the poll in partnership with the Ready Education Network, a national coalition focused on improving education.

Cornyn leads by 15 points with voters age 50+, while Hegar has a narrow 2-point lead with voters under age 50. In addition to a +9 net favorability, Cornyn has a total name recognition of 81%. Fewer voters are familiar with Hegar, who has a 62% name recognition, but she is well-regarded by those who do know her, with a net favorability of +12. 

“This is one seat that Mitch McConnell doesn’t have much to worry about as Republicans fight to preserve their Senate majority,” said Chris Kratzer, Vice President of Research and Analysis at Cygnal. “Cornyn has a broad base of support that extends across income and age demographics. In addition to his advantage with older voters, Cornyn leads by 8 points with voters age 35-49. Cornyn is also winning 40% of Hispanics, which makes it very difficult for Hagar to have a path to victory.”

Governor Greg Abbott is riding high with a +9 net favorability among Texas voters. 

Regarding Covid-19, 49% of Texans said they’re more concerned about its economic impact, while 47% are more worried about the public health fallout. 

In a time when many schools across the nation have pivoted to remote learning, 58% of Texans support allowing parents to control a portion of the tax dollars that are designated for their children’s education if their school is closed for in-person learning. Only 19% oppose the idea.

The Cygnal poll found that 69% of Texans oppose defunding the police, while 21% support doing so. Another unpopular idea is Beto O’Rourke, who has -7 net favorability.

This advanced mixed-mode survey was conducted on October 18 – 19 with 600 likely general election voters, giving the poll a margin of error of ±4.00%. Interviews were conducted using live agents calling cell phones and landlines, an online sample acquired via SMS invitations sent to known registered voters, and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to landline phones.

Cygnal is not working with any candidate or independent expenditure in the Texas U.S. Senate race.

The toplines can be found below. You can download the xtabs for this survey here.