Post Date: October 2020
Our Texas 2020 U.S. Senate Poll Tracker compiles polling that make serious efforts at disclosure.
The Second Reading Podcast: On the suburbs, polling the Hispanic vote, independents and early voting
As Election Day approaches, many are watching early voting for an indication of what total turnout might be - and contemplating the electoral impact of votes already cast, and those yet to come. You can find our simple tracking here, reproduced below with context from previous recent elections.
For those who focus on the historical arc of partisan competition in Texas politics, it’s hard not to cast independents as somewhere between the ultimate anti-heroes and a group of extras and bit players suddenly thrust into the spotlight in the drama of 2020. For the better part of the last two decades of Texas elections, political independents were, if not irrelevant, at least a pretty distant thought in handicapping election outcomes. The increased level of competition in races, both statewide, but especially down ballot in 2018, the consistently tight margins in polling on the presidential race in Texas, and the inherent unpredictability of independents as a group have suddenly made them the focus of both campaigns and those who prognosticate about them. That unpredictability makes it very tough to anticipate their impact on this, or any, election. But as polling shows a large group of them soured on Donald Trump, the preferences of independents now loom large over the 2020 contests in Texas.
Jim Henson and Josh Blank look at results from the recently released University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll that illustrate starkly different yet widespread concerns about problems with voting and elections, and a serious lack of trust in the outcome of the presidential election.
Texas COVID-19 cases and early voting are up, support for reducing police funding is down: Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics, October 16, 2020
Across three Texas polls between April and October, a growing minority of Texans has become less concerned and less cautious even as COVID-19 daily cases persist at mid-June levels
The last three Texas public opinion polls the Texas Politics Project team worked on contained extensive questioning to understand Texans’ attitudes toward policies addressing the pandemic, their perceptions of its effects and seriousness, and their behaviors in response to policies and perceived threats related to COVID-19. The poll conducted in late September and early October in conjunction with The Texas Tribune enables us to begin looking at changes in attitudes over the duration of the pandemic given the timing of our polls (April, June, and September-October). Below are some first looks at how attitudes have moved since the panemic’s early days, through the beginning of the summer wave that saw it’s peaks in new daily cases of 10,791 on July 14 and 275 deaths on July 23 (based on state-compiled data), and into a fall season in which the virus has receded from its peak, but still persists at levels roughly equivalent to mid-June when measured in the level of daily new cases, as illustrated in the chart immediately below.
In this week's Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Joshua Blank talk about trial ballot results from the recently released University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll and the state of the presidential race in Texas. Results and graphics from the results released by the Texas Tribune over the last week are now posted at our Latest Poll Page, and the data file, codebook, and crosstabs are available in our poll data archive.
Attitudes Toward Democracy are Underwater in Texas: Some Takeaways from Results on Voting and Expectations for the 2020 Election
The COVID-19 pandemic led to local elections and run-offs some local officials postponing elections in the spring and early summer. By emergency proclamation, Governor Greg Abbott expanded the period of early voting and loosened some of the rules regulating the in-person submission of mail-in ballots, even as he and the attorney general waged political and legal counter-offensives against efforts by local officials, voting rights groups, and Democrats in various configurations to ease access to the ballot box during the pandemic. As part of this political zig-zagging, the governor, in a subsequent proclamation, limited the number of in-person, mail-in ballot drop-off locations to one per county. Despite Abbott’s refusal to expand voting by mail, as many advocated during the height of the pandemic, the new Chairman of the state Republican Party, Allen West, joined efforts by Republicans to sue the governor over his expansion of the early voting period. Both parties also maneuvered to get their third party rivals removed from the ballot. This list isn’t even comprehensive, nor have we made mention of the widely chronicled and vehement aspersions Donald Trump continues to cast on the integrity of the election process as his national and state poll numbers erode.
With all of this as context (and great interest and high expectations that the results would be interesting), we designed a battery of questions for the October 2020 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll probing Texans’ attitudes about the conduct of the elections in Texas and their expectations of the process in 2020. The results don’t disappoint in terms of their interest, but it’s appropriate that we greet them with Halloween on the horizon. They are grim and even scary.