Keyword: John Cornyn
No one is surprised that Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz voted today to clear the way for Brett Kavanaugh’s ascension to the United States Supreme Court, and will vote in his favor tomorrow when the Senate takes the final vote. In the meantime, polling data from the University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll illuminates, at least in part, why Senators Cornyn and Cruz would support Kavanaugh even as temperament and forthrightness with Senate, and questions about his past became ever more problematic. A more thorough analysis will require new, more focused data. But in the meantime, the data at hand provide context for why the Texas Senators followed the party line once the responses to the accusations against Kavanaugh intersected with the seemingly ever-escalating partisan environment. From perceptions of discrimination to the #metoo movement to attitudes toward the court, the attitudinal landscape in Texas is marked by deeply opposed, partisan frames of references on some of the fundamental questions raised by Kavanaugh hearing and his and his defenders' responses to the objections raised to his confirmation.
In addition to its focus on Texans’ views of the issues facing the state a, the University of Texas / Texas Politics Project Poll regularly gages Texans' assessments of the state’s exclusively Republican leadership. As the political class in the state readies itself for the 2018 Elections and the 2019 legislative session, there have been small but notable shifts in voters’ estimations of their elected leaders’ job performance over the last few years.
As the party primaries got predictably nasty in the final week of campaigning before the March 6 election, Democratic early voting surged all week, a real phenomena that launched a thousand fundraising emails and at least a few flights of fancy, especially from those who can’t resist trying to turn a good thing into a fantastic thing. Donald Trump and Robert Mueller continued to make headlines, likely deepening the partisan divides in perceptions of their respective endeavors. Continue on for data on public opinion related to the torrent of political events this week, much of it freshly gathered in the latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll.
How much shifts in opinion towards the government's response to Harvey can be expected to impact the 2018 election campaigns in Texas depends on how they interact with what has become an unexpectedly roiled political season in the state. The elections are already buffeted by the raucous rule of Trump and his nominal party allies in Washington, the specter of an unusually roused Democratic electorate, lots of candidates shifting around as a result of Congressional retirements, and the ongoing intra-party warfare in the Texas GOP. As government at all levels struggle to respond to the aftermath of disaster in Texas and other places where severe misfortune has struck, the data below will serve as benchmarks for understanding the changes that are coming.
Public Opinion in Texas and Governor Abbott’s Poke at the Congressional Delegation Over Harvey Relief
In terms of everyone’s standing back home in Texas, a look at the job approval numbers of the Governor, the Congress, and the state’s U.S. Senators finds Governor Greg Abbott in a pretty good position to take a shot at Congress. The Governor’s job approval ratings are very strong among Republicans, while those of Congress remain almost comically dismal -- even among voters of the majority party.
The Texas Tribune published stories all week long on the February 2017 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, and we'll be mulling and writing about the results in the coming weeks. Ross Ramsey wrote stories about it all week long, bless his heart. But here are some first takes to end the week. We've posted many graphics, including lots of crosstabs at the latest poll page at the Texas Politics Project website - we'll post data files soon.
In addition to its focus on Texans’ views of the presidential election, the University of Texas / Texas Politics Project Poll asked for assessments of the state’s exclusively Republican leadership. Given the Republican Party’s dominance of state government and all statewide offices, the most meaningful competition has increasingly occurred among these leaders, leading to some inevitable degree of comparison.
The October 2014 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found Republican candidates favored over Democratic candidates by substantial margins in several statewide general election contests, with the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Attorney General Greg Abbott, leading the Democratic candidate, state Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, by a 16-point margin, 54 percent to 38 percent. Six percent of likely voters chose Libertarian candidate Kathie Glass, and Green Candidate Brandon Parmer was the choice of 2 percent.
The 2014 Texas Lyceum Poll finds Greg Abbott leading Wendy Davis 49%-40% among likely voters. Libertarian and Green Party candidates Kathie Glass and Brandon Parmer each garnered two points, and eight percent declined to choose a candidate. The poll was conducted from September 11-25, and had an overall sample size of 1000 respondents. The trial ballot results were among a sub-group of 666 likely voters, and had a margin of error of +/- 3.80 percentage points.
Given the high-level discourse that pervades The Texas Tribune Festival, it may seem uncouth to scrutinize the event in the context of polling. But it's a useful way to analyze what was happening onstage.