Joshua Blank

Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics, October 13, 2017

October 13, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Speaker of the House Joe Straus continued his efforts to shift his party’s agenda into the realm of economic development and to re-engage the business sector. Meanwhile, over at the White House, apparently tired of Congress’s inability act on the ACA, Donald Trump used executive power to launch a frontal assault on Obamacare this week, with extremely uncertain political and policy results to come. Texas Governor Greg Abbott also expressed some very public frustration with Congress, who as a group had a pretty tough week even as they uncharacteristically tried to do their jobs by moving another disaster relief bill, which was passed by the House. One of those members, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, outraised his expected Democratic opponent, though also got word that he may have a primary challenger. And lest you think Congress deserves some sympathy, their response to the Las Vegas shooting devolved into the usual puddle of avoidance and utter predictability from all involved.

Public Opinion in Texas and the Redirect to Mental Health in the Wake of Another Mass Shooting

October 6, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The cycle of initial shock and rote meta-politics that we’ve come to expect in the immediate aftermath of high-profile mass shootings in the United States has now moved on to the phase of political maneuvering over gun policy that takes place amidst the unpacking of the killer’s life.  At the intersection of these two storylines, attitudes about the causes of mass shootings inform both the political debate and efforts by the news media, policy makers, and the public to understand and arrive at responses to incidents like the attack in Las Vegas.

Expect GOP Support for Trump ACA Contraception Rollback, Despite Widespread Support for Access

October 6, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

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.

UT/TT Polling for #TribFest17

September 21, 2017
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

The Texas Tribune Festival runs this weekend (September 22-24) right here at The University of Texas at Austin with 10 tracks in addition to special events spread out over all three days. To provide additional context to those of you attending, watching online, or reading about it afterwards, we've annotated some of the panels with relevant University of Texas/Texas Tribune polling results. We've also provided links to get more information like additional cross tabs and question wording, but if you want to look for more, we have a good search tool and lots of tags on our polling search page.  Enjoy the festival, and if you find a result to share via social media, the tag for the festival is #Tribfest2017. 

The Political Geography of Hurricane Harvey

September 7, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Eventually politics will return to discussions of how much money to spend on disaster recovery in the wake of Hurricane Harvey --  where it comes from, how it’s distributed, and who gets how much (some might simply call this politics). In thinking about that eventuality, we’ve produced some maps that combine the counties designated as disaster areas by Governor Greg Abbott with district boundaries for the Texas House and Senate, as well as the party affiliation of the legislators and members in those areas. (This meant jamming a lot in these maps and we’re not cartographers – we’re happy to receive suggestions and corrections – and if you would like to use any of the maps, feel free to download and distribute.) (And also, read on, there's more after the maps.)

Public Attitudes Toward Immigration and Responses to Trump’s DACA Moves in the Texas GOP

September 6, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The public responses among Texas’ political leadership and in the interest group universe toward Donald Trumps zig-zag moves on DACA largely reflect the sharp cleavage between Democratic and Republican voters on issues related to immigration, as well as conveying the more subtle divisions among different groups in the GOP coalition. 

The Inconvenient Role of Texas Public Opinion in This Week's SB 4 Ruling

August 31, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

On August 30, a federal court in San Antonio issued a temporary injunction halting the September 1 implementation of part of Senate Bill 4, the so-called anti-Sanctuary Cities bill passed during the regular session amid much controversy, including heated confrontation on the floor of the Texas House on the last day of business. The decision temporarily blocked implementation of provisions designed to force local authorities to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and to mete out various punishments to local governments and specific individuals that enact policies limiting enforcement and cooperation, but let stand the provision guaranteeing the ability of law enforcement officers to inquire about the citizenship status of anyone they have lawfully detained.  In the June 2017 University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll, we asked Texans about the two sets of provisions treated in this week's decision. To the extent that concern might be thought of as overwhelming, it was not in the direction the ruling took.

Subtweeting the 85th Texas Legislature

August 18, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Most of the post-session coverage among the Texas political press has predictably focused on the politics of the big three and how much (or how little) of Greg Abbott’s agenda was acted on by the Legislature – coverage led by public signalling from both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor. But a look at some of the lower profile aspects across the arc of both the regular and special sessions of the 85th Legislature reveals a lot about the nature of the for-now dormant legislature and, more broadly, Texas politics as the political mix shifts more heavily toward electoral politics.

Slouching Toward Sine Die: A Special Session Driven by Party Politics, Not Public Demand

August 11, 2017
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The lowered expectations for the special session make sense if one looks at conservative and Republican attitudes toward the legislature and statewide leaders at the conclusion of the regular session of the 85th Legislature. While Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, and the leadership of some of the state’s most vocal conservative interest groups have either suggested or implied widespread public demand for more action, polling suggests significant conservative contentment with the results of the 85th – and thus, little active demand for more legislation from the legislature at this time. 

The People's Agenda: Notes on Public Opinion and the Special Session Call

July 20, 2017
By: 
Joshua Blank

With the passage of Sunset Legislation out of the Senate, Governor Greg Abbott kept his promise this morning, adding 19 items to the Special Session call, and opening the doors for a more entertaining (if politics is where you find your entertainment) July and August than many of us would have expected at the start of the 85th Session.

Below is a list of the added items and, where available, any relevant public opinion data from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, with links to graphics of cross-tabulations for each item.

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