Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Public Opinion and a Big #TxLege Agenda for Tuesday, March 7

March 6, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

It’s hard not to see the late-breaking addition of the Public Education Committee chair Dan Huberty’s just-filed HB 21 to the committee's agenda Tuesday as a bit of a chess move against both voucher advocates and the Senate, where the State Affairs Committee will be holding a high profile hearing on SB 6, the bathroom access bill championed by the Lt. Governor.

The Limits of Public Polling on Texas Bathroom Access

February 15, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Advocates of proposed legislation that would constrain or reverse efforts by local governments to guarantee transgender people access to public facilities of their choice repeatedly have invoked public opinion polling as evidence of broad public support for the legislation. The currently available polling, however, provides only tentative information about public attitudes toward the highest profile legislation, Senate Bill 6. Because access to public facilities is a comparatively new issue on the public agenda, most people are still forming opinions about it, which makes attention to the intentions and uses of different kinds of polling critical to assessing how polling is used for advocacy on this and other issues.

Trump’s Left Behind Voters and GOP Politics in Texas

December 16, 2016
By: 
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Nonetheless, pre-election polling in Texas reveals a group of conservative voters who do report feeling left behind by changes in the economy, while also holding attitudes that cohere with broader elements of Trump’s rhetoric-- and, crucially, with the appeals of the most conservative factions of the Texas GOP. The beginning of the Trump presidency will come 10 days after the opening gavel of the 85th Texas Legislature. While the internal dynamics of the state’s political system traditionally drive most policy and politics in the session, Trump’s ascension to the presidential bully pulpit, at the head of one-party rule in Washington, markedly changes the national context and its possible impact. 

What the UT/TT Poll tells us about Texans' support for Donald Trump

November 3, 2016
By: 
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The picture painted by Texans' views of Donald Trump compared to Mitt Romney at this stage in the 2012 campaign clarifies why the presidential race has become much closer than anyone anticipated. The polling data also shed light on the nature of Trump's coalition and suggest that the attitudes sustaining Trump's candidacy in Texas will continue to play a role in GOP politics in Texas, regardless of the future of the candidate himself.

Assessing Attitudes in Trump's Texas Basket

September 14, 2016
By: 
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Hillary Clinton’s riff in a speech to campaign contributors last week that “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables....The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it,” has invited mostly negative responses. 

Most Texas Voters Don’t Dislike BOTH Clinton and Trump

August 25, 2016
By: 
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The fact that most Americans dislike both presidential candidates has a been a recurring observation in discussion of the 2016 campaign, one that has fed the sense that the public must be hankering for a third party, an independent candidate, or some other fantasy league alternative to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. A closer look has shown that this “fact” emerges from a misreading of the national data. Data from polling in Texas shows that it’s not true of Texas voters, either.  Large shares of Texans have unfavorable views of one candidate or the other, but only a much smaller share have negative attitudes toward both candidates.

Katy Freeway: Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics

May 20, 2016
By: 
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

A new national poll shined the light once again on the electoral role of non-college educated white folks, even as the spotlight turned to the appearance of a very educated Texas Justice on Donald Trump's short list of US Supreme Court nominees. The U.S. Census Bureau released data confirming what everyone in Texas already pretty much knew -- that the suburbs are growing fast and the Texas 'burbs among them are growing fastest.  It's run off week in Texas, and the Governor -- himself not prone to such indignities -- is promoting his new book and getting some press for the effort, which he pretty much doesn't need but will take anyway.  

The Geography of the Speaker Vote

January 13, 2015
By: 
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The outcome of the vote for Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 84th was never in doubt, leaving most analysis of the voters for Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and Scott Turner (R-Frisco) to focus on the sources of division.  As a first cut at that discussion, we put together a map of the votes by district.

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