Trump’s candidacy has cut across the right–far ideological presentation of the Tea Party brand that has helped define acolytes in Texas and frame the internecine fights in the Texas GOP as a battle for the mantle of “true conservative.”
The week saw the stirring of politics in Texas not reducible to the ever-more-weird presidential race, as Texas’ voter ID law was back in the news after the state was forced into an agreement that was a de facto recognition of the law’s shaky constitutional status. Another shaky Texas political arrangement – the system of financing public education – and the polarized political responses that have stymied progress on revamping it, were also on display in a long meeting of the Senate Education Committee.The week saw the stirring of politics in Texas not reducible to the ever-more-weird presidential race, as Texas’ voter ID law was back in the news after the state was forced into an agreement that was a de facto recognition of the law’s shaky constitutional status. Another shaky Texas political arrangement – the system of financing public education – and the polarized political responses that have stymied progress on revamping it, were also on display in a long meeting of the Senate Education Committee.
Donald Trump has almost single-handedly – well, single mouth-edly – driven media coverage beyond the standard talk of convention bounces on to speculation about just how weird his campaign can get – and, yet again, whether the current state of crisis in his candidacy can be overcome. Trump’s most recent paroxysm of impulse and insult started with his response to the Democratic National Convention speech by Kazir Khan, with his wife at his side, about his son’s death while serving in the military in Iraq -- the beginning of a very rough week for the Trump campaign and the party that nominated him.
"Campus carry" -- the ability of holders of a concealed handgun license to carry concealed handguns on public universities (all but one private universities have reportedly opted out using a loophole for them provided by the Texas Legislature) -- goes into effect today, including at the University of Texas at Austin. As we've seen intertwined increases in Second Amendment fundamentalism, heavily publicized mass shootings throughout the United States, and activism in Texas aimed at expanding gun rights, we've conducted extensive polling on gun-related issues over the last few years.
Polling data suggests that the quest for party unity driving both party conventions over the last two weeks entails more complex challenges for Republicans than for Democrats in Texas. As Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman nominated by a major party for the presidency, she remains polarizing in Texas even though there is a gender gap in assessments of her. Barack Obama’s speech Wednesday night drew rave reviews from Democrats and even a few Republicans, and could even help rally the troops among Texas Democrats still simmering for Sanders. In advance of campus carry going into effect on public universities around the state (the legislature helpfully allowed private universities to opt out), we also provide some polling data on campus carry and feelings about safety. Probably not as helpful as signage, but we’re doing the best we can – as did several others in the state as they rolled out some great exercises in providing useful public data this week.
As the Democrats convene in Philadelphia, here are some relevant recent Clinton results from Texas, including favorability ratings, perceptions of her ideology, assessments of what kind of president she might be, and more.
The Republican National Convention in Cleveland delivered on the promise of conflict and drama, even if it fell short on the promised A-list celebrities and athletes. The Trump coronation tapped into many currents of public opinion evident in Texas, including pessimism about the state of the country, shifting views of the United States’ role in the world, and the balance of threat and opportunity for us "out there."
Amidst speculation about both his present intentions vis-a-vis Donald Trump and his future plans, Sen. Ted Cruz will address the Republican National Convention tonight in Cleveland. It’s widely assumed that the junior Senator from Texas has emerged from the 2016 GOP primary race as one of the surest undeclared candidates for the 2020 GOP presidential nomination (in the event that Donald Trump does not win the election, and maybe even if he does). As Cruz prepares for his big moment in Cleveland, we review his most recent numbers in Texas.
The week started with a public memorial service for the police officers killed and injured in Dallas, which included President Obama visiting the state and former President and Texas Governor George W. Bush making a rare public speaking appearance. The news media channeled troubled thoughts about the deep structural politics of last week’s events as the usual partisan politics were largely muted early in the week. There were, of course, exceptions, including a prominent one who holds statewide office here.
A battery of questions on the June 2016 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll reveals that the substance of Texans' concerns about transgender access to bathrooms are strongly shaped by sharply contrasting partisan attitudes toward transgender access to both public restrooms and public school facilities. As a group, Republicans are more concerned about transgender access to public restrooms than Democrats, and are also much more likely to think that access to the facilities should be based on birth gender rather than gender identity.