Facing a crisis, Abbott charts a lonely middle course
published 02.08.2020 02:18
In late April, 61% of Texas adults surveyed (not just voters as in most political polls), approved of Abbott’s handling of the pandemic, 3 points below the national average for governors.
By late July, Abbott — a Republican whose standing had been slipping month by month as he sought to make Texas a leader in reopening the economy — had a 38% approval rating, 13 points off the national average and not all that much better than President Donald Trump’s rating of 32% among Texans for his leadership in the crisis, down from 44% in April.
"For me, the response has to be to focus on what is the science, what needs to be done to achieve the best result for the people of Texas, and take actions based upon that, without worrying about the politics," Abbott said.
Threading a needle Two weeks ago, the state Republican Party convention elected as the party’s new chairman retired Army Lt. Col. Allen West, a former one-term congressman from Florida, who in his convention speech, characterized Abbott’s COVID-19 mandates as acts of un-Texan "tyranny."
University of Texas political scientist Daron Shaw, co-director of the Fox News Poll, said that Abbott has a tougher row to hoe than most governors.