Joshua Blank

New UT/ Texas Politics Project Poll: Trump still dominates presidential race in Texas, no movement on vouchers, and signs of a Paxton recovery among Republicans

October 25, 2023
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

With one year to go before the 2024 presidential election, the latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds former president Donald Trump dominating a crowded Republican primary field and holding a comfortable lead in a hypothetical re-match with President Joe Biden, who faces no serious competition in the Democratic primary so far. The poll also asked Texans about educational savings accounts and other public education issues at the center of the third special session of the 88th Texas Legislature currently underway in Austin. The poll found a modest majority, 51%, supportive of “establishing a voucher, educational savings account, or other ‘school choice’ program in Texas,” with slightly less than a third, 30%, opposed, and 19% holding no opinion. The latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll was conducted October 5-17, 2023, among 1200 self-declared registered voters in Texas. The margin error for topline results is +/- 2.83% (3.3% adjusted for weighting).

As another special session begins, GOP primary politics, not popular demand, keep vouchers on the agenda

October 6, 2023
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

After the repeated failures of the Republican legislature to pass voucher legislation throughout their two decades of total control of the state’s political process, the GOP leadership’s determination to focus efforts yet again on creating a voucher bill invites attention to one of the many challenges still facing the legislature in its latest attempt: it’s lack of importance to most voters. 

Amid divisions on Paxton and vouchers, border security remains the great Republican unifier in Texas

September 22, 2023
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Within hours of the Texas Senate’s acquittal of Attorney General Ken Paxton, Gov. Greg Abbott’s statement on the verdict added one more exhibit supporting the argument that politics as usual were triumphant in the wake of the historic impeachment battle. Abbott’s statement was noticeably brief, in absolute terms and especially compared to the detailed statements issued by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick from the dais immediately after the Senate voted, and by Speaker of the House Dade Phelan in quick response. But the pithy sentence that capped Abbott’s (very) measured praise of Paxton spoke volumes with just a few words: “I look forward to continuing to work with him to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach."

Polling vouchers: the choice of words can be taxing

September 20, 2023
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

As they struggle to claim the cloak of public approval for their respective causes, advocates both for and against voucher or voucher-like programs will resume a familiar pattern (at least to non-partisan pollsters) of praising or criticizing public opinion polling that either supports or undermines their efforts to claim public support. In doing so, both sides will heavily rely on the same argument when responding to survey results they don’t like, to the effect of: well, wouldn’t the results have been different if you had asked that question differently? Yes. The results would be different if you asked a different question – because it’s a different question.

Paxton and Trump: One of these is not like the other

September 15, 2023
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Donald Trump’s sudden reiteration of his fervent support for suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton during the 11th hour of his impeachment trial in the Texas Senate (delivered, of course, via social media) reminds anyone paying attention of their entangled trajectories. But with Paxton facing his potential moment of comeuppance in the Texas Senate, it also invites attention to Paxton’s significantly weaker position among Republican voters when compared to the seemingly limitless durability of Trump’s appeal among Texas Republicans.

Latest UT/Texas Politics Project Poll finds Texas Republicans’ support for Donald Trump unwavering amidst multiple indictments

September 8, 2023
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

As the 2024 race for the Republican nomination begins to take shape, the August 2023 University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds Texas Republicans’ continued support for former president Donald Trump evident in several results ranging from general assessments to attitudes toward the criminal indictments against him, the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, and beliefs about the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol led by supporters of the former president.

The poll also contained questions about attitudes in major issues on the public agenda in Texas, including public education, immigration and border policy, business engagement of public policy issues, and expectations about property tax rates. It also asked about Texans’ perceptions of discrimination in the U.S., their attention to major issues recently in the news media, and their assessment of various sources of potential threats to the United States. Selected results are presented below – more detailed discussion of results will follow in the coming weeks.

 

New UT/Texas Politics Project Poll: Texans' views of Ken Paxton as his trial nears

September 1, 2023
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

With suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial in the Texas Senate set to begin on Tuesday, September 5, a new University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds that a plurality of Texans, 47%, think Paxton took actions that justify removing him office, while 18% say he did not. Paxton fares slightly better among Republicans, though his partisan base remains divided, with the plurality unsure of whether Paxton should, or should not, be removed from office.  See the post for links to summary doc and a new Second Reading podcast focused on the advance release of results related to the Paxton impeachment and trial.

Is all forgiven? Texas public opinion and the “prior term doctrine” in Ken Paxton's impeachment trial

August 17, 2023
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Setting aside for the moment the logic and legalisms of both the Paxton legal team’s invocation of the prior-term doctrine and the House managers’ response, public opinion polling suggests that relatively small shares of Texas voters have heard “a lot” about Paxton’s legal problems, including in the run-up to the 2022 election. 

As GOP preemption bill steers power to the state, most Texans still express positive views of locals

July 12, 2023
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

While stifling the autonomy of state governments has been an ongoing project of the state’s Republican elected officials for several years, the latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll found Texas voters much more positively inclined toward their local government than toward state government.

The (very) early public opinion context for the 2024 US Senate Race in Texas

July 11, 2023
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez’s widely-expected announcement that he will join U.S. Congressman Colin Allred in seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in 2024 sets the stage for a long campaign in what could shape up to be one of the marquee Senate races in the next election.

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