Post Date: March 2020

A last look at things as they were: Texas attitudes on the economy on the brink of recession

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Texas government responses to the current crises will be shaped by public attitudes, and in particular whether the deep partisan influences over perceptions of the state and the state's economy prevail as disaster sweeps over the state and the nation. In Texas, the combination of partisan polarization, so deep that it colors even the most objective facts, and the dominance of one party for so long, have narrowed the range of potential policy responses into a small box dominated by expectations of growth, relative prosperity, and the enforcement of policy bounds by a de facto monopoly party. The first two economic expectations are no longer being met. The fundamentals of the third are about to be severely tested – and the leading indicator of those tests will be how much public perceptions shift beyond the comfort zone that has cushioned the current set of statewide leaders for the entirety of their political careers.

Read more...

Keywords: Coronavirus, Economy

Texas Politics Project Resources for Moving Your Texas Government Class Online in the Wake of COVID-19

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The large scale transition to online instruction in Texas higher education institutions has many government and political science teachers scrambling to migrate in-person courses into entirely online formats on a very short timeline. To help out with these efforts, we’ve gathered results from the last few years of the University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll, and sorted them by common topics covered in introductory Texas government courses.

Read more...

Whatever their causes, Super Tuesday primary election problems poison already toxic public attitudes toward the electoral process in Texas

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The long lines and cascading glitches in Texas’ primary contests on Super Tuesday raises yet again the issue of how politics shapes perceptions about the conduct of elections in Texas. While the multiple causes of the Super Tuesday breakdown in some of the state’s largest cities will continue to be dissected in the weeks and months ahead, we know one thing for sure: The public response to failures in the voting process will be viewed through darkly shaded partisan lenses. Polling within the last year reveals how much skepticism about the integrity of voting and elections in Texas pervades the electorate, though with completely different suspicions fueling the concerns of Democrats and Republicans.

Read more...

A quick primary election day look at Texas Democrats' and Republicans' ideological assessments of their elected officials

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

With at least some Texans going to the polls to vote in primary elections, it's a good time to take a look at the ideological orientation of Texas partisans. In a piece in the Texas Tribune yesterday, we looked at the ideological dispositions of Texas Democrats in the context of the Democratic presidential nominating contest. That exercise informed (some of) the selection of the particular data snapshots presented below (like the perhaps suprising results from Democrats by location and age). But with the related processes of ideological sorting and increased polarization taking place in Texas (as in much of the rest of the US) and a number of contested primary races in Congressional and state legislative seats taking place, it's worth revisiting the state of ideological play in both parties – particularly given that judgements about the liberalism of Democratic voters and the conservatism of Repulican voters in the state will be part of the unfolding punditry and post-election analysis over the next 48 hours. 

Read more...

Health care and its discontents loom over Texas Democrats in 2020

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Democratic voters’ focus on health care keeps that issue at center stage in the presidential primary, with the spotlight shining most brightly on the politics of “Medicare for All” — the 2020 shorthand for universal government-provided health insurance.

National polling almost universally shows that Democrats rank health care as one of the most important election issues (as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently reminded anyone who would listen), and that they overwhelmingly favor of providing the universal coverage promised by Medicare for everyone.

Yet public opinion polling in Texas reveals significant disagreement about the details of delivery, particularly whether government-provided health insurance should entirely replace existing private insurance, including plans provided in full or in part by employers.

Read more...

The Second Choices of Pete Buttigieg Supporters in Texas Polls

| By: Jim Henson

Pete Buttigieg's suspension of his presidential nomination campaign has drawn attention from Texas observers and reporters to the second choices of Buttigieg resopndents in Texas polling, which tend not to be included in default cross tab files.  Rice University's Mark Jones is a principal in the team that conducted the the Hobby School of Public Affairs poll (along with Renée Cross, Jim Granato, and Agustín Vallejo), and tweeted their Buttigieg second choices a bit ago.  To save everybody some time, here are Buttigieg second choices from that poll and the February University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Per the table, field dates overlapped some in February, with the usual noise of ongoing events to be taken into consideration. (And if you're involved with any of the other polls that have come out in the intervening period, feel free to email us and we'll add your data with a link to you poll, too.) 

Read more...