Jim Henson

Public opinion data points for Texas Conservatives as CPAC lands in Dallas

August 4, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson

The Conservative Political Action Conference, meeting in Dallas August 4-7, bills itself as “the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world.” Marketing aside, the marquee speakers at this years Dallas confab – former U.S. president Donald Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban – testify to how powerful currents of authoritarianism and nativism are bringing to the surface a unabashedly reactionary resurgence within mainstream conservatism in the U.S. and Europe. 

Political evasions taint the work of the House Committee Report on the Robb Elementary School Mass Shooting

July 20, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson

The House investigative committee’s report on the Robb Elementary School mass shooting confirmed much of what had been trickling out about how the situation unfolded, particularly the failures of the law enforcement response and in the execution of school safety procedures at the school. Most media coverage of the report emphasizes the directness of the report in detailing the failures in implementation of safety practices at Robb Elementary, and the failure to follow established policy, lack of leadership, and general chaos among all law enforcement on the scene. But the report also reflects the politics of the moment in its lack of detail regarding the roles played by state agencies, particularly the heavily represented Texas Department of Public Safety – and, most glaringly, leaves the consequences of the killers’ choice of weaponry unaddressed, even as that weapon hovers over the very detailed narrative of what the law enforcement personnel were doing – and more critically, what they were not doing – in the hallway outside the rooms where nineteen children and two adults were murdered. 

A Compilation of Texas Democratic public opinion as the Texas Democratic Party convenes in Dallas

July 14, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson

As the Texas Democratic Party holds its election-year convention in Dallas,  we’ve compiled a selection of public opinion results among Texas Democrats from our extensive polling data archive. 

The Return of the Grid

July 14, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson

Like most sequels, the summer spin-off exploits lingering interest in the original, but hasn’t quite lived up to the hype –  so far.

Another week of 100+ degree highs throughout the state producing record-setting electricity demand and ERCOT conservation alerts is also recharging the politics surrounding the reliability of the state’s electric grid. Texans' doubts and anxieties about the reliability of the grid make the return of the grid as an issue in the 2022 gubernatorial election inevitable amidst wall-to-wall coverage of the scorching weather and calls to conserve.

 

New UT/Texas Politics Project Poll: Share of Texans Saying State is on the Wrong Track Reaches New High, while majority still oppose banning abortion

July 6, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

A new University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds 15% of Texans expressing support for a complete ban on abortion access in polling conducted primarily in the week prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement of its landmark opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. While 37% of Texas voters say that they support "trigger law" that would ban abortion in most cases in Texas in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, no more than 36% would foreclose all access to legal abortion across a range of circumstances. 

The survey also found Texans expressing overwhelmingly negative views of the economy: 53% said that their personal economic situation is worse than a year ago; 58% said the Texas economy is worse than a year ago; and 73% said the national economy is worse than it was a year ago. All three represented the highest negative assessments since the poll began tracking these attitudes. With elections for statewide offices and the Texas legislature just over four months away, 59% said the state was on the wrong track — the largest share of negative responses in the poll’s history.

Job approval trends for Texas statewide incumbents and other trend data from the Texas Politics Project poll data archive (June 2022 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll update)

July 6, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

This page compiles graphics for trends in job approval ratings of the current incumbents (President, Governor, Lt. Governor, U.S. Senators, U.S. President) that Texans assess on every poll. Bookmark the page for easy reference – we’ve also added similar graphics for trends in Texans’ assessment of conditions in Texas and the U.S., and some archival results for comparison with leaders no longer in office. This version updates the ratings with data from the June 2022 University of Texas / Texas Politics Project Poll.

No longer just a product of the fringe, the proposed platform of the Republican party of Texas signals the anti-democratic turn in Texas politics

June 24, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

As in years past, the party platform committee report adopted at the Republican Party of Texas’ state convention last week is a Frankenstein assemblage of up-to-the-minute GOP hot topics, from namechecking the threat of “Drag Queen Story Hour” to “parental rights” to critical race theory to vaccinations, sewn together with well-worn fringe politics – plank 273 contains 14 positions related to threats posed by the United Nations. (There is also much more in the platform committee report, which runs to 40 single-spaced pages of small type that bolt on the preoccupations of a wide range of causes.) To anyone who has paid attention to past party platforms, or, more proximately, has watched Republican politics in Texas for even the last year, none of this will come as a surprise. The activist factions that have long dominated the organs of the state party have always been able to insert their pet obsessions into the party platform. But a look at even the headlined features in conjunction with available public opinion polling illustrates that they now have more influence than ever on the party’s actual, public agenda, as the output of the 2021 legislative session demonstrated in stark terms.

A Compilation of Texas Republican public opinion as the Republican Party of Texas convenes in Houston

June 16, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson

As the Republican Party of Texas holds its election-year convention in Houston, scheduled to last through Saturday, we’ve compiled a selection of public opinion results among Republicans from our extensive polling data archive. We’ve not attempted any analysis here, though there is plenty elsewhere in our blog on the dynamics of public opinion in the Texas GOP. Rather, we’ve pulled out Republican subtotals on items that likely seem to provide relevant context for the convention proceedings and the political positioning taking place in and around the gathering.

John Cornyn’s effort to provide GOP with political cover on gun violence is a reminder that he is the last Bush Republican standing in Texas

June 16, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

With Ken Paxton's defeat of George P. Bush, Cornyn remains the last artifact of Bush era Texas Republicanism — if not a member of the dynasty by blood, he may well nevertheless be the last elected Bushie still standing.

Why immigration and border security endure as the central axis of Texas Republican politics

May 19, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

For the last decade, no issues have more consistently occupied the consciousness of Texas Republican voters than immigration and border security. Evidence provided by multiple polls, considered in the context of politics and policies pursued by a generation of Texas Republican leadership, illustrates how nativism has become a major animating force in Republican politics in the state. While the term “nativism” carries negative connotations, nearly a decade of public polling data illustrate the pervasiveness of such attitudes among Republican voters, even if the term is likely to be hotly refuted by those whose attitudes and (in the case of public figures) rhetoric and policies make the description demonstrably apt.

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