Keyword: Donald Trump
While the cable shows seize on the latest poll, with an emphasis on those that make the best news, it is of course best to look at as much data as possible, taking into account sampling strategy, timing, and trend. We'll keep this page updated as more data become available.
For those who focus on the historical arc of partisan competition in Texas politics, it’s hard not to cast independents as somewhere between the ultimate anti-heroes and a group of extras and bit players suddenly thrust into the spotlight in the drama of 2020. For the better part of the last two decades of Texas elections, political independents were, if not irrelevant, at least a pretty distant thought in handicapping election outcomes. The increased level of competition in races, both statewide, but especially down ballot in 2018, the consistently tight margins in polling on the presidential race in Texas, and the inherent unpredictability of independents as a group have suddenly made them the focus of both campaigns and those who prognosticate about them. That unpredictability makes it very tough to anticipate their impact on this, or any, election. But as polling shows a large group of them soured on Donald Trump, the preferences of independents now loom large over the 2020 contests in Texas.
Attitudes Toward Democracy are Underwater in Texas: Some Takeaways from Results on Voting and Expectations for the 2020 Election
The COVID-19 pandemic led to local elections and run-offs some local officials postponing elections in the spring and early summer. By emergency proclamation, Governor Greg Abbott expanded the period of early voting and loosened some of the rules regulating the in-person submission of mail-in ballots, even as he and the attorney general waged political and legal counter-offensives against efforts by local officials, voting rights groups, and Democrats in various configurations to ease access to the ballot box during the pandemic. As part of this political zig-zagging, the governor, in a subsequent proclamation, limited the number of in-person, mail-in ballot drop-off locations to one per county. Despite Abbott’s refusal to expand voting by mail, as many advocated during the height of the pandemic, the new Chairman of the state Republican Party, Allen West, joined efforts by Republicans to sue the governor over his expansion of the early voting period. Both parties also maneuvered to get their third party rivals removed from the ballot. This list isn’t even comprehensive, nor have we made mention of the widely chronicled and vehement aspersions Donald Trump continues to cast on the integrity of the election process as his national and state poll numbers erode.
With all of this as context (and great interest and high expectations that the results would be interesting), we designed a battery of questions for the October 2020 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll probing Texans’ attitudes about the conduct of the elections in Texas and their expectations of the process in 2020. The results don’t disappoint in terms of their interest, but it’s appropriate that we greet them with Halloween on the horizon. They are grim and even scary.
The Texas Tribune rolled out three Ross Ramsey stories on the first wave of results from the October University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll early Friday morning. The release included results of the trial ballots in the presidential and U.S. Senate races, as well as job approval numbers for the candidates and several state elected officials. Here are five first-cut takeaways from the day one results – much more analysis to come, and many more results focused on matters such as race and policing, attitudes and behaviors related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and expectations of how smoothly the election and its afternmath will go coming next week. (Find a summary of day one results in pdf form here.) Below are some early impressions of the first group of results, with much more drilldown to come between now and Election Day.
It's October, But Is Any of This Really Surprising? Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics, October 2, 2020
The rules regulating voting in Texas got another restrictive twist this week when Governor Abbott issued a proclamation imposing new limits on the handling of mail-in ballots. Abbott’s action took place even as agitation among GOP dissidents on the right continued to pressure him for his exercise of executive power during the pandemic. One of those dissidents added more fuel to that fire Tuesday when she finished first in the special election in Texas Senate District 30. While all this was unfolding in Texas, apparently President Donald Trump was getting infected with COVID-19, which as the week ended diverted attention away from his reluctance to unambiguously reject White supremacist groups at the Tuesday’s unpleasant presidential debate, though it sheds a new light on his continuing underestimation at the debate of COVID-19 in general and preventative measures in particular.
In this week's Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson talks to veteran political writer Mark Z. Barabak of The Los Angeles Times about the 2020 election. The conversation starts with a discussion of Mark's recent article with Jennie Jarvie and multiple TImes colleagus about the fears of voters across the spectrum about the aftermath of U.S. presidential election, and touches on the dynamics of the election as well his unique perspective on Kamala Harris's selection as the Democrats' vice-presidential ticket after writing observing her career and writing about her throughout her rise in Califonia politics.
The artifice and hyperbole inherent in the Hunter S. Thompson reference notwithstanding, the week's election news elicited genuine fear and sincere loathing. So with emotions high and the stakes for the political system even higher, this week’s post focuses on the escalating political fighting over the rules for the 2020 general election as voting procedures in Texas are being challenged on multiple fronts, and as the President all but promises that he will contest the outcome of the election if he doesn't win. On the same day that Donald Trump refused (the first time, anyway) to commit to accepting the results of the 2020 presidential election, a group of Texas Republicans was asking the Texas Supreme Court to reverse Governor Abbott’s extension of the early voting period. All of this overshadowed the state’s compliance this week with a federal court order requiring Texas to follow the 27-year old “motor voter” law by allowing Texans renewing their driver’s license online to also update their voter registration - a possible beachhead for belatedly bringing online voter registration to the state. As the week ended, the voting plot thickened still more, as the Texas Attorney General tried to highlight a voter fraud case involving absentee ballots in a primary race for county commissioner, and a federal judge sent shivers through the spines of county clerks by blocking the 2019 law ending straight-ticket voting in Texas. And as a backdrop to the swirling political and legal chaos around elections and voting, the Secretary of State announced an increase in registered voters (registration continued through October 5). These are all pieces of an important puzzle picturing the resilience of democracy in the state and the nation. With early voting set to start in Texas in less than three weeks (setting aside the lawsuit for the moment), as a wise observer once said, all the pieces matter. I took a little more time this week to put several of them together.
In this week's podcast, Jim Henson and Joshua Blank look at public trust in Texas toward the U.S. Supreme Court and the other branches of government as a backdrop for Republican efforts to nominate and confirm a replacement for the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Positive Thinking, Minus the Positivity: Texas Data Points for the Week in Politics, September 18, 2020
Governor Abbott started the weekend on Thursday by announcing that based on a new criteria, much of the state would be able to relax, though not remove, some of the restrictions on business and public activities. We also got to put a debate between Senator John Cornyn and challenger M.J. Hegar on our calendars this week (October 9), even as a report issued by a non-profit suggested that the pandemic resulted in a drop in new voter registration, at least in the spring. In other voting data that is equally unsurprising, very few people are voting in the Senate District 30 special election to replace Senator Pat Fallon. National Democrats' late summer confidence got a little shakier this week, especially as they pored over the ever-difficult-to-intrpret poll numbers among Latinos. And for much of the week, Donald Trump kept it up, raising the usual questions.
The release of recordings of conversations between veteran journalist Bob Woodward and President Donald Trump as part of the Washington Post's rollout for Woodward’s second book about Trump, Rage, dominated coverage of politics, Trump, and COVID-19 this week. Senator Corynyn “in retrospect” opined that President Trump just maybe could have trusted the American people with “accurate information." Meanwhile, as part of his effort to get re-elected, Trump this week released a list of potential nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court that included, among other colorful characters, the junior U.S. Senator from Texas that the president used to call "Lyin’ Ted." Back in Ted Cruz’s home state, his former boss, Governor Greg Abbott, continued to avoid undue attention to COVID-19, channelling the president’s political turn to press a law and order argument with a new campaign pledge for Republicans and citizens (validated with your data), and still more proposals designed to punish cities ostensibly not toeing the blue line. And there’s a lot of stress in the state this week as many kids returned to whatever version of school is on offer in their neighborhood. Don’t panic, just read on for more Texas data related to these events from the week in Texas politics.