Keyword: Joe Biden
Texas COVID-19 cases and early voting are up, support for reducing police funding is down: Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics, October 16, 2020
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.
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.
In this week's Second Reading podcast, Jim Henson and Joshua Blank discuss the Trump presidential campaign's law and order campaign in the wake of the Republican National Convention and the shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and briefly touch on the Texas Attorney General's efforts to prevent Harris County from sending mail-in voting applications to everyone in the county.
With their parties’ national conventions behind them and the final phase of the presidential campaign set to begin after the Labor Day weekend, both Donald Trump and Joe Biden will seek to reinforce their framing of the campaign this week amidst the backdrop of continued attention to the reckoning with racism in the U.S. after recent events in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Each seeks to mobilize a base that is likely unpersuadable by the other side given the combination of party polarization and the overwhelmingly negative perceptions that partisans hold of the opposing candidate — but which must be turned out in their respective entireties to maintain parity in the closely dividely country. Yet around the edges, these efforts to fire up partisan supporters can’t alienate the thin share of voters who are either undecided partisans, truly independent, or whose partisan inclination might be shaken by the volatile issues at the intersection of race and policing.
Trump’s efforts to paint Biden as a friend of anarchy and himself as the guarantor of law and order will depend little on the details of city budgets and crime rates, relying instead on predispositions and opinions on visceral issues like race, public safety, and stability. Texans’ attitudes at the intersection of race, policing, and the spectrum stretching from public protests to the meme of “civil unrest” illustrate the likely audiences for the coming efforts by both national presidential campaigns’ attempts to frame recent events to their advantage — the advantage resting in their ability to mobilize their bases while also landing appeals among the narrow band of voters whose votes are still up for grabs.
A set of questions in our 2020 polling illustrates the degree to which Texas partisans are polarized in their views of the systemic effects of racism on policing, of police more generally, and of the protests that emerged in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
While national politics focused on Democrats’ virtual convention and how it would promote the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket, the top three figures in Texas state government made a show of promising a dubious means of protecting the police from the depredations of municipal efforts to reduce their budgets. The policy was vague and seemingly hard to deliver, at least as discussed, but the show was understandable given the latest news on the pandemic and on the data supposedly informing those decisions. Meanwhile, we have a very interesting opportunity to look at the views of a key group of policy makers toward how their own workplace should be regulated in response to the pandemic as the political class ponders how to conduct the legislative session that commences in January, courtesy of a survey conducted by the House Administration Committee chaired by Charlie Geren (R-Ft. Worth). We also got some new data on the presidential election in Texas, which we had the opportunity to discuss with our colleague Mark Jones from the Baker Institute at Rice University. Read on for these and more data points from another hot week in Texas politics.
The consensus of the day-one media response to Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s vice-presidential running mate has been “historic but safe”: Historic because she is both the first black and first Asian American woman on a major party presidential ticket, and “safe” because of Harris’ more moderate profile relative to the sustained energy among Democratic activists during the Democratic primary that ultimately pitted Biden against more progressive alternatives. Whatever the adjustments required of the progressive cadres in the Democratic primary, in terms of the general election, she makes it harder for the Trump campaign’s already commenced (and sure to continue) red-baiting smears to stick among the increasingly narrow band of undecided voters.
Biden’s selection of Harris rightly is being taken as a sign of a decisive shift in the Democratic Party that has been a long time coming. To the extent that Democrats’ much-discussed efforts to hasten Texas’s transformation into a consistently competitive state rely primarily on mobilizing Democratic voters, there is a lot of Kamala Harris’ demographic profile in the Democratic electorate in Texas.
President Donald Trump returns to Texas Wednesday for a fundraising event in Odessa and, per press reports, to "tour an oil rig in Midland." Per our usual practice, we've rounded up various polling results capturing Texans' views of the president to provide context for his visit, which comes less than 100 days before voters decide whether to award him with another term.