Following Up on Public Support for Lt. Governor Patrick's Priorities

During Wednesday's interview of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith in Austin, Lt. Governor Patrick said, "I think all of the bills we've released as priorities are supported by Republicans and Democrats." Lt. Governor Patrick's claim came during a spirited exchange between Patrick and Smith about the reasons for Patrick's apparent desire to take the lead on the transgender facility access issue. Patrick upbraided Smith for what he claimed was the Tribune's biased coverage of his intervention on the issue, claiming that he was largely following public opinion on the issue. He cited polling procured by his political team and covered in the Tribune, but also upbraided Smith for a Tribune story that failed to mention that UT/Texas Tribune polling also showed support for his position. Lt. Governor Patrick broadened his claim of public support for his priorities by telling Smith that his entire 25 item agenda announced last year similarly enjoyed public support and invited him to "find a bill on that list that is not supported by the people of Texas." 

Well, we're with the Lt. Governor on using UT/TT polling data in political and policy coverage in which public opinion data contributes to informing the public. We've gone through our data archive and found polling results relevant to fifteen of the Lt. Governor's declared priorities. The language below describing each bill was taken directly from the press releases on the Lieutenant Governor's website (here, here, and here). We've added links to more extensive crosstabs in addition to presenting the topline results and crosstabs by party identification, along with some other highlights based on the Lt. Governor's claims about public support Wednesday morning. By and large, these items do poll well or appear to have a receptive audience in the cases of specific proposals we haven't yet asked specific items about – for example, the disposal of fetal tissue. The partisan patterns of this support, however, vary. In some cases, overwhelming support among Republicans and split support among Democrats create a somewhat misleading impression of public consensus. 

On the issue of regulating transgender access to public facilities that prompted this discussion at the Tribune event, our items showed the public closely divided, with barely over 50 percent in two separate items believing that birth gender should govern access (broadly speaking, Lt. Governor Patrick's position) – a position shared by 76 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of true independents, and only 26 percent of Democrats. Crucial for debate in the upcoming session, nearly a quarter of Democrats had no firm opinion, compared to only 10 percent of Republicans. Graphics and links to the data are provided below. If you didn't catch the interview, video is embedded after the graphics. The discussion begins about 27 minutes into the interview.

SB 2 – Property Tax Reform – Texans pay the sixth highest property taxes in the nation and the high rates are taxing people out of their homes and hampering business growth. This must change.

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Enough to make a difference to most Texas families29%
Not enough to make a difference56%
Don't know/No opinion14%

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Strongly support51%
Somewhat support26%
Somewhat oppose10%
Strongly oppose6%
Don't know8%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Strongly support38%44%62%
Somewhat support26%32%26%
Somewhat oppose14%11%6%
Strongly oppose11%2%1%
Don't know11%12%4%

More items on taxes and tax cuts here.

SB 3 – School Choice – There is broad support for legislation to ensure that every parent has the option to send their child to the school they believe is best for them.

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Favor31%
Oppose19%
Don't know enough to say42%
No opinion7%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor14%26%47%
Oppose32%18%10%
Don't know enough to say47%42%38%
No opinion8%14%5%

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categoryDemocratRepublicanTea Party
Favor15%34%65%
Oppose32%16%10%
Don't know enough to say46%44%23%
No opinion6%5%1%

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categoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Favor35%18%27%
Oppose21%18%14%
Don't know enough to say38%56%47%
No opinion6%8%12%

More crosstabs on voucher support heading into the 2015 session here.

SB 4 – Sanctuary Cities – No city in Texas should be allowed to ignore the law. We will end this practice once and for all this session.

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Approve of sanctuary cities21%
Disapprove of sanctuary cities59%
Don't know/No opinion21%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Approve of sanctuary cities36%14%6%
Disapprove of sanctuary cities34%62%87%
Don't know/No opinion30%24%8%

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categoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Approve of sanctuary cities17%19%33%
Disapprove of sanctuary cities67%49%39%
Don't know/No opinion16%32%28%

More crosstabs on sanctuary cities attitudes from February 2016 here.

SB 5 – Photo Voter ID – Nothing is more critical to our democracy than the integrity of the voting process. Photo Voter ID is essential.

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Very favorable51%
Somewhat favorable15%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable9%
Somewhat unfavorable6%
Very unfavorable16%
Don't know / No Opinion3%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Very favorable23%44%78%
Somewhat favorable18%26%12%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable12%8%5%
Somewhat unfavorable11%8%2%
Very unfavorable33%13%2%
Don't know / No Opinion3%2%1%

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categoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Very favorable58%29%43%
Somewhat favorable12%22%20%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable7%13%13%
Somewhat unfavorable6%10%7%
Very unfavorable15%23%14%
Don't know / No Opinion2%3%4%

More crosstabs on voter ID attitudes from February 2014 here.

SB 6 – Women’s Privacy Act – A majority of Texans in both political parties and in every ethnic and demographic group believe that women and girls should have privacy and safety in their restrooms, showers and locker rooms. Unfortunately, legislation is necessary to assure that they do.

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Their birth gender51%
Their gender identity31%
Don't know/No opinion18%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Their birth gender26%46%76%
Their gender identity50%30%14%
Don't know/No opinion24%24%10%

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Their birth gender53%
Their gender identity29%
Don't know/No opinion18%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Their birth gender26%46%79%
Their gender identity51%30%10%
Don't know/No opinion23%23%10%

More crosstabs for public access here, and for public school facility access here.

SB 8 – Fetal Tissue/Partial Birth Abortion – We will continue to fight to protect the dignity and sanctity of life by increasing criminal penalties for buying or selling human fetal tissue, among other protections, and we will ban partial birth abortion in Texas.

SB 20 – Prohibiting Abortion Insurance Coverage – It’s imperative that we continue to fight for life and for those who do not have a voice. SB 20 will protect Texans from being forced to pay for someone else’s decision to end an innocent life.

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Pro-life42%
Pro-choice40%
Neither11%
Don't know7%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Pro-life19%32%66%
Pro-choice63%40%23%
Neither10%25%8%
Don't know8%3%3%

Full crosstabs here.

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Very favorable21%
Somewhat favorable17%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable15%
Somewhat unfavorable9%
Very unfavorable33%
Don't know/no opinion5%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Very favorable36%25%6%
Somewhat favorable26%19%7%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable19%14%10%
Somewhat unfavorable8%6%12%
Very unfavorable6%26%63%
Don't know/no opinion5%10%2%

Full crosstabs here.

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By law, abortion should never be permitted.13%
The law should permit abortion only in case of rape, incest or when the woman's life is in danger.29%
The law should permit abortion for reasons other than rape, incest, or danger to the woman's life, but only after the ne17%
By law, a woman should always be able to obtain an abortion as a matter of personal choice.37%
Don't know5%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
By law, abortion should never be permitted.8%8%20%
The law should permit abortion only in case of rape, incest or when the woman's life is in danger.18%34%36%
The law should permit abortion for reasons other than rape, incest, or danger to the woman's life, but only after the ne12%11%22%
By law, a woman should always be able to obtain an abortion as a matter of personal choice.59%42%18%
Don't know4%6%4%

Full crosstabs here.

SB 11 – DFPS Child Protection Bill – SB 11 will strengthen our ability to protect Texas children by enhancing investigations to reduce abuse and neglect and ensure child safety, addressing access to appropriate treatment and placement options, improving foster care contract oversight and accountability, and strengthening adoptions.

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A lot12%
Some33%
Not very much30%
Nothing at all25%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
A lot15%10%12%
Some33%35%32%
Not very much27%32%31%
Nothing at all24%24%26%

Full crosstabs here.

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Favorable20%
Unfavorable36%
Don't know enough to have an opinion43%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favorable26%14%19%
Unfavorable33%42%38%
Don't know enough to have an opinion41%44%43%

Full crosstabs here.

SB 12 – Protective Vests for Police – Texas has over 77,000 licensed law enforcement officers and our state has lost more law enforcement officers in the line of duty than any state in America.  SB 12 will ensure that the safety of police officers across the state is a top priority, including helping provide police with protective vests capable of stopping high-caliber bullets. Some of the officers killed in the deadly Dallas sniper ambush earlier this year had bullet-proof vests that were ineffective against high-caliber rounds.

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Very favorable27%
Somehwat favorable30%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable19%
Somewhat unfavorable13%
Very unfavorable10%
Don't know/no opinion1%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Very favorable14%18%40%
Somehwat favorable26%33%33%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable23%21%14%
Somewhat unfavorable19%10%9%
Very unfavorable16%16%3%
Don't know/no opinion1%2%0%

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categoryWhiteBlackHispanic
Very favorable31%10%24%
Somehwat favorable34%19%26%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable16%33%20%
Somewhat unfavorable11%12%17%
Very unfavorable7%25%11%
Don't know/no opinion1%1%2%

Full crosstabs here.

SB 14 – Ethics Reform – SB 14 will strengthen Texas ethics laws, and ensure government officials and employees are held to high standards that inspire the public’s confidence in a transparent and ethically principled government.

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Such a law is appropriate because it allows people to judge potential conflicts of interest58%
Such a law is an invasion of privacy that goes too far23%
Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion20%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Such a law is appropriate because it allows people to judge potential conflicts of interest65%48%52%
Such a law is an invasion of privacy that goes too far17%28%28%
Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion18%24%20%

Full crosstabs here.

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In Austin, by the Travis County District Attorney.47%
In the county in which they reside, by the local District Attorney.36%
Don't know/No opinion17%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
In Austin, by the Travis County District Attorney.58%39%40%
In the county in which they reside, by the local District Attorney.24%32%46%
Don't know/No opinion18%29%14%

Full crosstabs here.

SB 16 – License To Carry Fee Reform – SB 16 will continue to support 2nd Amendment rights by making lawful carry more affordable for the average law abiding citizen.  Texas currently has one of the highest License to Carry fees in the country, and we will fix that.

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More strict41%
Less strict18%
Left as they are now36%
Don't know / No opinion6%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
More strict71%47%15%
Less strict6%19%26%
Left as they are now16%29%55%
Don't know / No opinion6%4%5%

Full crosstabs here.

SB 17 – Franchise Tax Reduction – SB 17 will continue to explore phase-out options of the franchise tax.

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Property tax dissatisfaction55%
Motor fuels tax dissatisfaction40%
Sales tax dissatisfaction34%
Sin taxes dissatisfaction34%
Business margins tax dissatisfaction32%

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DemocratIndependentRepublican
Property tax dissatisfaction48%49%61%
Motor fuels tax dissatisfaction36%36%43%
Sales tax dissatisfaction31%36%35%
Sin taxes dissatisfaction28%40%35%
Business margins tax dissatisfaction30%29%32%

Full crosstabs here.

SB 21 – Convention of States – I support the efforts of Governor Greg Abbott in adopting a call for an Article V “Convention of States” to limit the power of the federal government.

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Held up well59%
Hold a new constitutional convention25%
Don't know/No opinion17%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Held up well51%56%69%
Hold a new constitutional convention30%19%19%
Don't know/No opinion19%25%12%

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categoryLiberalsModeratesConservatives
Held up well59%43%72%
Hold a new constitutional convention29%30%18%
Don't know/No opinion12%27%9%

Full crosstabs here.

SB 23 – E-Verify – I will continue the efforts of the Texas Legislature in the electronic verification of employment authorization. This will ensure that individuals employed by state partners are also authorized for employment.

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Strongly support69%
Somewhat support17%
Somewhat oppose7%
Strongly oppose4%
Don't know4%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Strongly support58%71%81%
Somewhat support22%10%13%
Somewhat oppose11%8%3%
Strongly oppose6%5%2%
Don't know4%6%1%

Full crosstabs here.

SB 24 – Religious Liberty – Sermon Safeguard – The Senate will continue to protect the most fundamental First Amendment religious liberty rights by protecting pastors from forced testimony and shielding sermons from government subpoena power.

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Muslims23%
Christians21%
African Americans14%
Transgender people12%
Gays and lesbians11%
Whites9%
Hispanics6%
Women3%
Men2%
Asians0%

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categoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Muslims27%26%17%
Christians4%14%40%
African Americans22%18%6%
Transgender people17%11%9%
Gays and lesbians16%7%7%
Whites1%11%13%
Hispanics8%5%4%
Women4%4%2%
Men0%4%2%
Asians0%0%0%

Full crosstabs here.

Below: the video of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick's conversation with Evan Smith, recorded at the Texas Tribune event at the Austin Club the morning of January 11, 2017.