As the largest county in Texas and the third largest in the nation, Harris County’s election results impact politics and policy beyond its borders. Who is leading in the 2022 race for county judge in Harris County — the Democrat who had an upset victory in 2018 or the Republican newcomer? Who is garnering the most support among Harris County voters in the gubernatorial contest — Governor Greg Abbott or challenger Beto O’Rourke? In the recently redrawn Precinct 4, who is the frontrunner for county commissioner? What issues are driving voters’ decisions? How are the three county propositions faring? To answer these questions, the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston conducted a survey of Harris County likely general election voters to identify their preferences and opinions regarding the 2022 election. The survey was fielded between October 10 and October 15, 2022 by contacting likely voters via SMS messages through which the respondents were directed to an online survey platform with the option to complete the survey in English or Spanish. The representative survey population is 625, with a margin of error of +/- 3.9%. The oversample for the Harris County Commissioner Precinct 4 race included a total Precinct 4 population of 350 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 5.2%.
The Race for Harris County Judge
The race for county judge in Harris County is in a statistical dead heat, with Republican Alexandra del Moral Mealer leading Democrat Lina Hidalgo by 2% (47% to 45%, with 8% undecided).
A strong gender gap exists in the vote for county judge, with Hidalgo holding a 12% lead over del Moral Mealer among women (52% to 40%), while del Moral Mealer holds an 19% lead over Hidalgo among men (56% to 37%).
Del Moral Mealer holds a 19% advantage over Hidalgo among white voters (56% to 37%), while Hidalgo holds a 56% advantage over del Moral Mealer among Black voters (73% to 17%). Del Moral Mealer holds a 3% advantage over Hidalgo among Latino voters (47% to 44%).
When making the decision of who to vote for county judge, two of 10 policy issues stand out as being very important among likely Harris County voters: crime and public safety (81%) and government corruption (79%).
When determining the one most important issue when making a vote decision in the county judge race, 40% of the respondents identified crime and public safety as the most important issue, with abortion (13%) and voting rights (11%) as the second and third most frequently cited issues.
The Gubernatorial Choice in Harris County
In the Texas 2022 gubernatorial race, Democrat Beto O’Rourke holds an 8% lead over Republican Greg Abbott among Harris County likely voters (50% to 42%, with 7% undecided).
Harris County Propositions A, B and C
38% of Harris County likely voters intend to vote in favor of Proposition A (public safety bonds for up to $100,000,000), 31% intend to vote against Proposition A, and 31% are unsure how they will vote on the proposition.
63% of Harris County likely voters intend to vote in favor of Proposition B (road bonds for up to $900,000,000), 20% intend to vote against Proposition B, and 17% are unsure how they will vote on the proposition.
52% of Harris County likely voters intend to vote in favor of Proposition C (park bonds for up to $200,000,000), 29% intend to vote against Proposition C, and 19% are unsure how they will vote on the proposition.
The Race for County Commissioner in Harris County’s Precinct 4
Republican Jack Cagle holds a 5% lead over Democrat Lesley Briones among likely voters (40% to 35%) in the contest for county commissioner in Precinct 4. A quarter (25%) of Precinct 4 likely voters remains undecided.
48% of Precinct 4 likely voters do not know enough about Cagle to have an opinion of him, while 71% of Precinct 4 likely voters do not know enough about Briones to have an opinion of her.
Read the report to learn more about where likely Harris County voters stand on candidates, policy issues and propositions including differences of opinion when considering gender, age, ethnicity/race and partisanship.
Media Release October 24, 2022
Maria P. Perez Argüelles, Research Associate, Hobby School of Public Affairs
Renée Cross, Senior Executive Director & Researcher, Hobby School of Public Affairs
Mark P. Jones, James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy's Fellow in Political Science, Rice University; Senior Research Fellow, Hobby School of Public Affairs
Savannah Sipole, Research Associate, Hobby School of Public Affairs
Agustín Vallejo, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Hobby School of Public Affairs