Joshua Blank

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.

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.

Five Aspects of Texas Public Opinion on Mass Shootings, Guns, Gun Control, and the state’s rightward shift in the wake of the Uvalde Tragedy

May 25, 2022
By: 
Joshua Blank

In the aftermath of a tragedy as horrific as the one in Uvalde, Texas this week, many will wonder aloud whether Texas, and Texans, will have a reckoning with guns, its gun culture, and/or the recent laws that have made it increasingly easier to buy and own a gun in Texas?

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.

A round-up of results in the April 2022 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll related to the 2022 Texas election

May 5, 2022
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

The majority of the April University of Texas / Texas Politics Project poll focused on the many issues currently facing the state and the country, many of which we expect to continue being a large part of the public discussion in the lead-up to the November elections. Taking into account that the general election remians several months in the future, the items in the poll related to the election were designed to assess attitudes toward candidates in the the most prominent upcoming Texas run-offs, and eventually, in the general election. We've compiled some results to these items with a particular emphasis on the overall views and those among key groups of voters, whether in the upcoming general (e.g. independents, Hispanics, suburban voters), or in the upcoming primary run-offs (e.g. committed partisans, ideologues, and others).

New UT/Texas Politics Project Poll: Texans’ attitudes on population growth and the state’s future take a negative turn amidst economic troubles

May 4, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

In an election year marked by economic disruption, the unprecedented direction of state resources and public attention to the Texas-Mexico border, and signs of moving on from the fight against COVID-19, Texans’ legendary bullishness about the future of the state has turned bearish, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll.

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

May 4, 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 April 2022 University of Texas / Texas Politics Project Poll.

Texas trend data on attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to curb its impact (April 2022 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll update)

May 3, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The April 2022 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll adds a tenth assessment of Texans’ attitudes about the coronavirus pandemic to the Texas Politics Project polling data archive, adding to data collected in batteries from polls conducted in April, June, and October of 2020; February, April, June, August and October of 2021, and February and April of 2022. The time series allows reporters, researchers, elected leaders, public health officials, and the public a view of how Texans’ concerns about COVID, behaviors during the pandemic, and evaluations of the official responses have changed throughout a year of pandemic conditions in Texas.

Public Opinion Context for Partisan Efforts to Shape the 2022 Election Agenda in Texas

April 4, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Public opinion data from University of Texas/Texas Politics Project polling provides ample opportunity to assess which issues and themes might resonate with voters in the upcoming 2022 general election campaigns. Results from the latest poll and other recent surveys in our polling archive suggest that the public opinion landscape – at least barring unexpected, major events that bring new issues to the fore or shift the attitudes of large blocs of voters, which is rare – adds yet another advantage to an already long list of Republican assets going into the 2022 general election. 

With attention elsewhere, Abbott extends his emergency powers related to COVID and the border

March 30, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Last week, Governor Abbott quietly issued two little-noticed declarations renewing his emergency powers in two key policy areas – the COVID-19 pandemic and border security. However different the policy problems targeted by the declarations and their respective contexts, Abbott’s declarations reflect two consistent characteristics of his approach to being governor: sustained efforts to strengthen the position of the governor’s office in the state’s political system (especially vis-a-vis the legislature and other statewide elected officials), and a habit of strategic caution at the intersection of politics and governance.  

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