Joshua Blank

Some Notes on the Political Geography of the 2022 Election in Texas

November 29, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

A look at the geography beneath the status-quo-preserving results of the 2022 Texas election reveal gradual patterns of change that both confirm and confound the received knowledge about the state’s most recent elections and the longer-run trajectory of the state.

Making sense of electoral politics in Texas as the 2022 election reaches its crescendo

October 31, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

For all the upheaval in the state over the last two years – month after month of screaming and fighting over COVID measures (amidst tens of thousands of COVID-related deaths), persistent threats to democratic institutions that broke into open violence on January 6 and have simmered ever since, the power outage that killed hundreds and brought discomfort and suffering to millions in Texas, the mass killing of children at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the overturning of Roe v Wade and the resulting deterioration of health care and autonomy for millions of Texas women – the Texas electorate as likely constituted seem poised to vote for continuity rather than change. This situation is the result of long-standing, and only slowly changing, characteristics of the Texas political system being reinforced by a strong national dynamic favoring Republicans.

Contextualizing (and Tracking) the Early Vote in Texas

October 30, 2022
By: 
Joshua Blank

As Election Day approaches, many are watching early voting patterns for indications of total turnout and signs of partisan advantages (or disadvantage). However, intepreting the 2022 early vote is tricky, and interpretation of patterns requires keeping several factors in mind. Many of the most obvious comparisons being made in efforts to find leading indicators of election outcomes are more complicated than they appear. Some of these complications arise from the data collection and reporting by the secretary of state. Others considerations arise from well established differences between mid-term and presidential election years, and from the unique circumstances of both the 2018 and 2022 elections.

With Texans focused on the border and the economy, Abbott leads O’Rourke 54%-43% among likely voters in new University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll

October 21, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

With in-person early voting set to begin in Texas on October 24, the latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll finds Gov. Greg Abbott leading Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in the gubernatorial race, 54%-43%, among Texans likely to vote in the 2022 election. While more than half of Republican voters say immigration and border security is the most important issue area informing their vote, Democratic voters’ attention is divided among a list of several issues, topped by abortion.

Texas trend data on attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to curb its impact (August 2022 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll update)

October 21, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The October 2022 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll adds an 11th assessment of Texans’ attitudes about the coronavirus pandemic to the Texas Politics Project polling data archive, adding to data collected in batteries from polls conducted in April, June, and October of 2020; February, April, June, August and October of 2021, and February and April of 2022. The time series allows reporters, researchers, elected leaders, public health officials, and the public a view of how Texans’ concerns about COVID, behaviors during the pandemic, and evaluations of the official responses have changed throughout a year of pandemic conditions in Texas.

“Likely Voter” Polls and the 2022 Texas Electorate

October 10, 2022
By: 
Joshua Blank

Rarely is it made clear to the public consuming surveys what to make of “likely voter” surveys, which is why it’s so important, with the election just around the corner, for a quick explainer.

Where are key groups in the Texas electorate on 2022 campaign issues?

October 3, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

In this election cycle in Texas, suburbanites, self-described ideological moderates, Hispanics, and political independents have emerged as important to the final electoral outcome and thus, to the campaigns because of their relative size and the fact that, as we show below, each includes substantial numbers of members of both parties. One consequence of this combination of size and partisan mixture is that even if targeted messages fail to persuade voters to cross party lines, these messages still have the effect of resonating with a campaign's own voters, amplifying the overall effort to increase their turnout.

Public Opinion Context for the One and Only Texas Gubernatorial Debate

September 30, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The gubernatorial debate between incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto ORourke in McAllen, Texas is likely to be the only time the two candidates will share a stage in the 2022 campaign. The University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll has been exploring Texas attitudes related to the candidates and the broader context of the election over the last year, and got into extensive detail in our most recent poll, which was conducted from August 26-September 6. To provide context for tonight’s debate, we’ve gathered several results that illustrate how Texans view each of the candidates, their comparative levels of trust on the major issues emerging in the campaign, and more. This post is built for browsing 

New UT/Texas Politics Project Poll: Abbott maintains 45%-40% lead over O’Rourke; 52% support busing migrants out of Texas

September 14, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll finds Gov. Greg Abbott sustaining a polling lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, 45%-40%, albeit one that has narrowed as the gubernatorial campaign enters its final and most public phase. Beyond the top lines of the gubernatorial trial ballot, the poll results illuminate an election environment in which the gubernatorial contest between Abbott and O’Rourke is the most competitive race for the office Texas has seen in decades. Yet the results also reveal the advantages Abbott still enjoys among the Texas electorate, and the significant obstacles O’Rourke still faces in putting together a coalition of voters capable of overcoming the advantages, political and structural, that Abbott enjoys.

Can country roads take Beto O'Rourke home?

August 29, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

There are Democratic votes to be had in rural Texas. Looking back at polling between 2015 and June 2022, on average over that time span, 61.75% of rural Texas voters have identified as Republicans and 25.61% as Democrats. The data don’t demonstrate significant fluctuations in the party identification patterns of Texas’ rural voters over time, though the Republican share has not been less than 64% in 6 UT/Texas Politics Project polls conducted between June 2021 and June 2022. Democratic identification among rural voters has stood at 22% in each of three surveys conducted so far in 2022. The remainder of the rural registered voter pool, 12.57% on average, identify as independent, by which we mean voters who neither identify with, nor consistently lean toward, either party. So while a non-trivial share of Democrats appear to remain in Texas’ rural areas, in the recent term, the GOP advantage does seem to be slightly on the increase — consistent with broader trends in party system dynamics.

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