Beto O'Rourke's Chances of Beating Greg Abbott in Texas, According to Bookmakers

Beto O'Rourke looks set to win the Democratic nomination for the Texas Gubernatorial race but will struggle against the likely Republican challenger Greg Abbott, according to bookmakers.

On the day that early voting opened in the Texas primaries, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power gave the Democrats a 7/2 chance of having a candidate who will be the next Texas governor.

A spokesperson for the bookmaker told Newsweek that recent polls for O'Rourke in the Democratic Primary makes him "almost certain" to be the Democrat candidate, therefore his odds are now 7/2 to be next the next Texas governor, down from 4/1

O'Rouke, who failed in his 2018 Senate run against Texas Republican Ted Cruz and also ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, is up against several other Democratic candidates in the Texas primary but is considered the overwhelming favorite to win the nomination.

However, Paddy Power said that the chances of a Republican winning the Texas Governor's race are far greater, and listed the odds of the winner being a GOP candidate at 1/6.

Currently, the out and out leader for the GOP primary candidate is once again the incumbent Abbott, meaning he is still the person to beat in the Texas gubernatorial race, according to bookmakers.

The Paddy Power spokesperson told Newsweek: "As primary season gets under way in Texas, the Republicans are priced as strong favorites to keep the Governor's mansion, with the Republicans 1/6 to win in November.

"Good polls for O'Rourke in the Democratic Primary make him almost certain to be their candidate, likely against GOP incumbent Greg Abbott, but he is still considered the underdog even with his personal price coming in slightly to 7/2 from 4/1.

"O'Rourke will be desperate to avoid a hat trick of losses, having already failed in his recent bids for the Senate and the White House. But despite the big orange fella [Donald Trump]'s endorsement of Abbott worrying some Republicans, the national picture coupled with an unpopular sitting president make it an uphill battle for O'Rourke."

A recent poll by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin gave Abbott a significant 10 percentage point lead over O'Rourke in a hypothetical head-to head.

When asked if the election for Governor were held today, 47 percent of people said they would back Abbott, compared to 37 percent for O'Rourke.

The survey also appeared to suggest that both candidates will be the selected primary candidates for the GOP and Democrats.

According to the poll, 93 percent of people said they would choose O'Rourke over his Democrat rivals, none of whom got more than two percent.

Abbott got the backing of 60 percent of those taking part to be the Republican primary candidate, with former Florida congressman and ex-Texas GOP state chair Allen West coming in a distant second with 15 percent.

In January, a survey by The Dallas Morning News/University of Texas at Tyler found that 47 percent of respondents said they would back Abbott, compared to 36 percent who would vote for O'Rourke

Speaking to KDFW, Southern Methodist University political science professor Matthew Wilson said he would be "stunned" if the governor race does not end up being between Abbott and O'Rourke.

"Both of them, I think, have substantial leads over any other people within their respective parties."

Wilson added it appears Abbott "is a significant favorite" to once again be elected governor in Texas.

One person who is confident that Texas could still flip to an overtly Democrat state is New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

On Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez told a crowd at a rally for Texas congressional candidates Jessica Cisneros and Greg Casar that "Texas turning blue is inevitable."

"It will happen, the only question is when Texas. The only question is: 'When?'" she said at the San Antonio event.

Beto O'Rourke texas polls
Beto O'Rourke (R) will struggle to unseat Greg Abbott (L) in a Texas gubernatorial election, according to bookmakers. MANDEL NGAN-AFP/SAUL LOEB-AFP/Getty Images