The more important matter is whether or not this poll, commissioned by Texas Tech University, is worth its weight in paper. Hardcore Republicans will, no doubt, point to this result as evidence that the gubernatorial election is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a competitive contest. Hardcore Democrats will undoubtedly explain that the poll oversampled GOP participants, while also pointing to the 4.8% margin of error.
The poll, which contacted a few hundred people by telephone, pegged the gubernatorial election as Greg Abbott (R) at 54% and a mere 25% to Wendy Davis (D). A whopping 29-point lead for Abbott is leaps and bounds above any other poll result he has gotten thus far in the campaign. Astute readers of my opinion will be quite familiar with my cynicism, though even I would not say Abbott will get over two-thirds of the vote. PPP, long regarded by myself as the most reliable pollster, has long estimated the race at about a 14/15 point for Abbott. That being said, this poll looks rather legitimate, which should give the Davis campaign pause.
The other interesting portion of this poll is a surprising result on the topic of gay marriage. A full 48% of Texans noted that they support gay marriage, compared to only 47% being opponents. For what it is worth, this is not the first poll in Texas to come to such a conclusion. Last year, Equality Texas found a bare plurality supporting marriage equality as well. I have yet to look over the actual questions, but I would highly suspect this particular question included only two options (e.g., “Do you support gay marriage” or “Do you oppose gay marriage”).
One of the first rules of polling is that the results on issue questions such as these are highly malleable. When other pollsters, such as Pew, PPP or the Tribune, frame this question, they often include a middle ground such as “do you support civil unions, though not marriages?” This typically retards the support of the issue somewhat significantly.
For the life of me, I have not found another recent Texas Tech opinion poll. Accordingly, I am thoroughly unfamiliar with their track record. That being said, a 29 point lead for Abbott is just thoroughly absurd.