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Beating on Beto: The Logic of the Cruz Campaign’s Negative Turn in the Texas Senate Race

| By: Joshua Blank and Jim Henson

Over the last week and a half, the Ted Cruz campaign and its allies have stepped up their negative attacks against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke (though with a bit of a stumble out of the blocks). The Cruz campaign’s blows against Beto have gotten both tougher and more voluminous as the campaign sees close public (and perhaps internal?) poll numbers and, within that polling, a large share of Republican voters seemingly unaware of the threat to their party’s hegemony skateboarding their way.

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Trends in Partisan Ideological Identification in Texas Illuminate McCain's Past, Trump's Present, O'Rourke's Future

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Today, we took great interest in the Tweet below by Carroll Doherty at the Pew Research Center, highlighting increasing conservative identification among Republican voters over the timespan between John McCain's first presidential campaign in 2000 and today. Pew's data show conservative idenfitication in the GOP increasing by 12 points, from 56 percent to 68 percent.  The Pew data got us wondering about whether these trends manifest themselves in Texas, so we pulled together polling data from over 30 University of Texas / Texas Tribune polls to see if and how ideological identification in Texas has changed since 2008 (the inaugural year of our data). The data series is represented in the graphics below.

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Find Your School on Our Texas Education Agency School Rating Maps

| By: Joshua Blank and Jim Henson

The implementation by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) of an A-F school rating system has been a matter of heated debate since the idea was introduced in Texas, a debate that has been reignited by the release of the first round of district grades by  the TEA on August 15. Wherever one falls in the wisdom or usefulness of the much-debated system, the idea was to provide information for parents, the public, and policy makers. To this end, we created Google maps below to make it easy to look up the ratings of Texas schools, along with contextual information for each one.  

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The Public Opinion Context in Texas of Beto O’Rourke’s Viral Comments on NFL Players Taking A Knee

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

In an increasingly familiar dynamic in the election for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Ted Cruz, Beto O’Rourke is gaining glowing reviews from a national audience on social media and in the press for his explanation of his view that NFL players taking a knee are not disrespectful to the flag or to veterans and service members. But as in other episodes in O’Rourke’s campaign, the reception in Texas is likely to be much more ambiguous, given what we know about public attitudes in the state toward the NFL protests.  

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2018 Election Polling in Texas

| By: Joshua Blank and Jim Henson

This post will be updated regularly to reflect the release of new public polls.

Most recent update: 10/24/18

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Indictments of Russians Land Amidst Strong Partisan Views in Texas of Russian Meddling, Donald Trump Connection, Mueller

| By: Jim Henson

Among Texas voters, there is a now well established pattern in which views of even some of the basic facts of the Mueller investigation — like whether it has uncovered any crimes (it has) — appear heavily influenced by partisanship. As the Mueller investigation and Russian interference in the election hit the headlines once again, we round up relevant results for University of Texas / Texas Tribune polling (which largely resemble national results on similar items).

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The Supreme Court, the Politics of Abortion, and the 2018 Elections

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll has asked numerous questions about abortion over the last 10 years, including a now-consistent item on whether or not Texas voters view themselves as “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” Overall, according to June 2018 UT/TT polling data, 44 percent of Texas voters describe themselves as pro-life while 39 percent describe themselves a pro-choice. There are, of course, unsurprising partisan differences. Among the state’s majority party, Republicans overwhelmingly describe themselves as pro-life (68 percent), about equal to the share of Democrats who describe themselves as pro-choice (66 percent).

But these broad labels, like the topic of abortion itself, hide complexities likely to shape the electoral environment that Democrats and Republicans will confront should the Fall be spent on the confirmation of a justice expected to overturn, or severely curtail abortion rights. 

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Public Opinion in Texas and Donald Trump’s Nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Among those anticipating President Donald Trump’s announcement of his nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court, Texas political candidates and even some voters will be watching to see how the president’s choice plays with Texas voters. Below are a few public opinion data points from the archives of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll that may help anticipate the public response. 

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Beliefs About Discrimination in America Color Views of Supreme Court’s Masterpiece

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

This week, the Supreme Court released its much anticipated decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Civil Rights Commission, narrowly ruling for the plaintiffs and spurring both sides in the debate over LGBTQ rights to claim larger victories than justified by the decision.  While LGBTQ rights were clearly being tested, beliefs about discrimination in America lurk just below the surface of responses to the decision — and those beliefs vary markedly among partisans.

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Governor Abbott Navigates Public Attitudes and Political Realities with Gun Policy Announcement

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

We’ve gathered some relevant results from the dozens of items on gun rights, gun control, and gun violence that we’ve included in University of Texas / Texas Tribune Polling over the last several years, during which there have been at least 180 school shootings. They provide some context for what the governor included and left out in his proposals.

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