Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) is running just 6 percentage points behind state Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) in the 2014 governor's race, according to an online University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Monday.
Davis' name recognition has jumped significantly since she made national headlines with an 11-hour filibuster against an anti-abortion bill in late June. In a poll taken earlier that month, 58 percent of Texas voters didn't know her or had no opinion of her. In the most recent poll, that number is down to just 16 percent.
Opinions of Davis, the only Democratic gubernatorial candidate so far, are deeply divided, with 37 percent of Texas voters viewing her favorably, 31 percent unfavorably and 16 percent neutral.
Abbott, the leading Republican candidate, is more positively rated, with 36 percent viewing him favorably, 24 percent unfavorably and 23 percent neutral. Eighteen percent didn't know him or had no opinion.
“We’re so used to see the Republican gubernatorial candidate running from a position of incumbency,” pollster Jim Henson told the Tribune. “Greg Abbott, while well-known, is not a household name. At least the race starts that way. That was evident before the rise of Wendy Davis, and it’s a stark contrast now that she has become so well-known in the wake of the filibuster. This far out, there is always an element of these results that is about name recognition."
The margin between Abbott and Davis in this poll is smaller than in previous surveys conducted on the race. A Texas Lyceum poll taken in September found Abbott leading by 8 points. Two surveys from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling in January and late June found him ahead 12 and 8 points, respectively.
The University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll surveyed 1,200 registered voters on the Internet between Oct. 18 and Oct. 27.