Polling at both the national level and in Texas have increasingly shown partisan differences in attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic and in peoples’ reported behaviors in response to it. But an analysis of data in the June 2020 University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll finds evidence of another, potentially surprising political profile distinct from party in COVID responses: Perceptions of threat to White masculinity. The data and discussion that follows demonstrate a strong linkage between the perception of a threat to White masculinity and attitudes toward the coronavirus pandemic. In short: the more an individual believes in the existence of a threat to White masculinity, the more likely that person is to downplay the severity of the virus, to believe it will be resolved quickly, to focus more on the economic than human harm, and are less willing to take part in private activities to stop the spread of the virus.
There’s no shortage of academic research (and practical experience) to suggest that women and men perceive risk differently, and subsequently respond to risky situations with different behaviors. The results from the recent University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll reveal these gendered patterns of risk assessment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. hese data reveal significant differences suggesting that men’s attitudes and behavior themselves pose a risk to the efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Sheltering in Plain Sight: Some Data Points from the April 2020 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll
The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll focused almost exclusively on Texans’ attitudes about the Coronavirus, its impact (including the economy), and the response of government and elected officials to the pandemic. We’ve already written about Texans’ struggle to reconcile powerful economic concerns with the widely (if not quite universally) acknowledged seriousness of the public health hazard confronting the country and the state, and provided a compendium of poll results related Texans’ views of Governor Greg Abbott as the twin crises wrack Texas. And, of course, Ross Ramsey and Brandon Formby wrote five stories about the poll in The Texas Tribune last Friday and Saturday (link, link, link, link, link). We pulled out several data points that might have gotten missed in the wealth of results from the first public poll in the state to focus on the coronavirus — and one point that no one should forget.
No one is surprised that Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz voted today to clear the way for Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the United States Supreme Court, and will vote in his favor tomorrow when the Senate takes the final vote. In the meantime, polling data from the University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll illuminates, at least in part, why Senators Cornyn and Cruz would support Kavanaugh even as temperament and forthrightness with Senate, and questions about his past became ever more problematic. A more thorough analysis will require new, more focused data. But in the meantime, the data at hand provide context for why the Texas Senators followed the party line once the responses to the accusations against Kavanaugh intersected with the seemingly ever-escalating partisan environment. From perceptions of discrimination to the #metoo movement to attitudes toward the court, the attitudinal landscape in Texas is marked by deeply opposed, partisan frames of references on some of the fundamental questions raised by Kavanaugh hearing and his and his defenders' responses to the objections raised to his confirmation.
The Public Opinion Context in Texas of the Kavanaugh Confirmation, Sexual Assault Charges Against Him, and Ted Cruz’s Role in the Coming Senate Hearings
Amidst talk (though uneven evidence) of Ted Cruz’s possible vulnerability among women in the suburbs and of a lack of enthusiasm for Cruz overall, as well as comparatively more demonstrable gender differences in attitudes related to sexual harassment and assault, the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh pose political hazards for Ted Cruz should there be new hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the present atmosphere of partisan polarization on both Kavanaugh’s nomination and gender politics, Cruz must walk a narrow and somewhat unfamiliar path – one that requires moderation of his usual temperament.
We revisit key aspects of the relevant landscape of attitudes in Texas below. Multiple results on relevant subjects from University of Texas/Texas Tribune polling illustrate just how narrow this path is in the Texas electorate, who will start early voting in about a month. (This post was slightly revised 20 September 2018 at 3:10 PM to reflect new developments, including data on Texans' views of the FBI.)
Texas Republican women's support of Donald Trump coexists with their tepid reaction to the ongoing attention to both everyday and high-profile cases of sexual harassment and violence. The gender politics triggered by Trump’s record with at least some of the women he encountered on the road from celebrity to the White House didn’t prevent millions of women from doing their part to vote him into office. And evidence from Texas offers little indication that the often explosive gender politics in the wake of Trump’s election have altered the fundamentals of Trump’s wellspring of support among Republican women.
As the party primaries got predictably nasty in the final week of campaigning before the March 6 election, Democratic early voting surged all week, a real phenomena that launched a thousand fundraising emails and at least a few flights of fancy, especially from those who can’t resist trying to turn a good thing into a fantastic thing. Donald Trump and Robert Mueller continued to make headlines, likely deepening the partisan divides in perceptions of their respective endeavors. Continue on for data on public opinion related to the torrent of political events this week, much of it freshly gathered in the latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll.
66, 81, 67, -21, 77... and other telling numbers hiding in plain sight in the latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll.
Texas politics continued to be roiled by the ongoing national reckoning with sexual misconduct and gender attitudes in the culture this week, from a hearing in the Texas Senate on harassment policy to a couple of men calling it quits, including yet another Congressman, Blake Farenthold. In the policy realm, good stories on the history of the border wall produced by a team of Texas Tribune and ProPublica, and on climate change and Harvey in the Houston Chronicle, remind us all that we can continue to talk about enduring policy issues, though they also point to polarized public attitudes that make any moves on those issues difficult. All this, and, of course, Alabama
As anticipated, the Trump administration has used executive authority to reverse measures implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act that mandate coverage of contraception in most insurance plans. Public attitudes captured in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll illustrate how the focus on religious exemptions may work to qualify what is otherwise universal support for women having access to contraception.