Keyword: Republican Party

After years in the wings, independent voters take center stage in Texas in 2020

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

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.

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Thumbs on the scales: Texas Data Points for the Week in Politics (August 29, 2020)

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

State Senator Pat Fallon’s Senate seat is not only still warm, it’s not even technically vacated, which made Governor Abbott’s thumb-on-the-scale calling of a snap election for his replacement the major political preoccupation inside the Austin beltway (such as it is) this week. We take a look at the district, presumed frontrunner State Rep. Drew Springer’s positioning there, and possible spoiler Shelly Luther’s potential audience among the Texas GOP. Meanwhile, in Charlotte and on several public properties in the Washington, D.C. area, Donald Trump and his political party attempted to rally fervid Trump Republicans while shoring up some key corners where they fear attrition in November, a tricky task, even if you do have the White House as a backdrop. Hurricane Laura came ashore big, though luckily appears to have inflicted less damage than anticipated. Still, some Texas areas adjacent to the major disaster areas in Western Louisiana were hit hard; we gingerly consider the possible political consequences of the disaster in Texas, along with other data points from the week in politics.

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The Republican National Convention Through the Eyes of Texas Republicans, via the Texas Politics Project Poll Data Archive

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

In advance of the convention’s effort to mobilize voters behind the top of the ticket while finding the sweet spot between defining and channeling the mood and agenda for GOP campaigns across the country, we’ve gathered public opinion data on Texans’ attitudes. As both the base and the broader electorate spend the week receiving the messages transmitted by the national party via the convention, we’ve focused on Texas Republicans and conservatives, though where appropriate have also included independents, moderates, and the occasional snapshot of the broader electorate. 

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Data Points from the Week in Texas Politics (August 7, 2020)

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The week started with the Comptroller releasing revenue numbers that invited cherry picking by the desperate, manipulative, and just plain inattentive. But they weren’t really very sweet if you looked closely. Governor Abbott held events and press conferences on two separate days as he continued his attempts to manage the COVID-19 crisis and the  politics surrounding it, which have not gotten any easier, as illustrated by the fact that he got sued this week by five legislators ostensibly on his team. Those legislators are a thorn in the governor’s side, but the whole affair points to the larger question of whether we can expect to see a less obstructionist, more constructive vision of the role of the legislature restore some balance between the two main branches of government in 2021. Part of the answer to this question depends heavily on the outcome of the 2020 election. Speaking of the election, we very seriously doubt that Donald Trump’s efforts to persuade Black voters to take another look at him as a candidate, while claiming that he is more of a civil rights hero than John Lewis, are going to help him move his lopsided numbers among Black Texans. 

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Sheltering in Plain Sight: Some Data Points from the April 2020 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll focused almost exclusively on Texans’ attitudes about the Coronavirus, its impact (including the economy), and the response of government and elected officials to the pandemic. We’ve already written about Texans’ struggle to reconcile powerful economic concerns with the widely (if not quite universally) acknowledged seriousness of the public health hazard confronting the country and the state, and provided a compendium of poll results related Texans’ views of Governor Greg Abbott as the twin crises wrack Texas. And, of course, Ross Ramsey and Brandon Formby wrote five stories about the poll in The Texas Tribune last Friday and Saturday (link, link, link, link, link). We pulled out several data points that might have gotten missed in the wealth of results from the first public poll in the state to focus on the coronavirus —  and one point that no one should forget.

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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. 

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Cornyn's expected vote against impeachment is in tune with Republican voters in Texas

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Whatever the reason is for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn's support for the president, it puts him tightly in sync with Republican voters in Texas.

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In Texas, Partisanship Trumps Immigration in Latino Republicans’ Support for President

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Given the widely recognized demographic trajectory of the state, the political attitudes of Latino voters in Texas remains one of the topics most likely come up in any and all discussions of the state’s electoral future. The approach of a recent article in The Conversation by Stella Rouse and Shibley Telhami with the highly clickable title “How Latinos Really Feel About Trump” got us thinking about the Texas-specific answers to some of the questions raised by the authors about Latinos nationally. 

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If Your Memo Serves You Well: Texas Data Points from the Week in Texas Politics, February 2, 2018

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank


Political courage took a back seat to political calculation as the renegade memo on the investigation of Carter Page was made public, completing the eclipse of the President’s State of the Union and, at least for the moment, the increasingly corrosive immigration debate. While the fiddling continues in a smoldering Washington, D.C., the Comptroller delivered bad news of a more mundane variety to the Senate Finance Committee this week, while financial bad news of a different sort added to the woes of a (somewhat) surprisingly beleaguered George P. Bush in his increasingly contentious primary battle to remain Land Commissioner. Beto had better financial news than either Glenn or George P. (That sentence shows why the first name thing works better for O’Rourke). National media attention to a report on white supremacist groups focusing recruiting efforts on college campuses featured their fairly piddling efforts on Texas campuses, through our data suggests that White Supremacy pretty clearly doesn’t have a data analytics department.

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The Tea Party in Texas

| By: Joshua Blank

You may not be aware that the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, as of this writing, has been measuring Tea Party identification since 2010, which means that we have collected (an astonishing, if I do say so myself) 24 surveys of registered voters in Texas that can examine Tea Party attitudes alone, in comparison to Republicans as a whole, non-Tea Party Republicans, Democrats, and, of course, the entire electorate.

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