Joshua Blank, PhD

Joshua Blank is the Research Director of the Texas Politics Project. Born in New York, NY, he has a bachelor's degree in political science from Boston University and a doctoral degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin.      

Governor Abbott's Slow Play in the Tax Debate, by the Numbers

April 22, 2015
By: 
Jim Henson, PhD
Joshua Blank, PhD

Governor Abbott’s response to the competing tax proposals emerging from the two chambers of the Texas Legislature last week set off the predictable flurry of speculation in Capitol circles and among the Texas political press.

Feet to Fire or Not, Medicaid Expansion in Texas a Near Impossibility

April 20, 2015
By: 
Joshua Blank, PhD

Expanding an unpopular program (Medicaid) to retain money allocated through that program under the guise of another wildly unpopular program (the ACA) seems like a long-shot here in Texas, and a surprisingly bullish negotiating strategy on the part of the Federal Government given public opinion in Texas.

Five Things Worth Knowing in the Open Carry Debate

April 17, 2015
By: 
Jim Henson, PhD
Joshua Blank, PhD

With open carry legislation still working its way through the legislative process, here’s another brief look at data on gun attitudes from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, and a consideration of the logic applied to data (or the lack thereof) on gun ownership in the current debate.

What a Tax Fight Says about Texas' Future

April 14, 2015
By: 
Jim Henson, PhD
Joshua Blank, PhD

How Texas lawmakers will cut taxes has emerged as the defining fight of this year's legislative session, highlighting the tension between the state's political culture and its rapid economic growth.

Local Control, Local Policy and Polling

April 6, 2015
By: 
Joshua Blank, PhD

On the February 2015 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, we constructed a battery of questions with the intention of tapping into the distribution and structure of attitudes underlying what we – and likely many others – thought would be an extended debate about the scope and contours of local control in Texas. While we didn’t learn exactly what we had intended, the results seem to reveal that the rhetoric of local control is less a manifestation of a political philosophy that seeks to define the proper locus of governmental power, and more a tool used to support or oppose governmental actions depending on who’s acting and whether or not you agree with their actions.

On Ted Cruz's Courtship of Conservative Christian Voters

April 6, 2015
By: 
Joshua Blank, PhD
Jim Henson, PhD

Ted Cruz's standing with Tea Party voters and fundamentalist Christians in Texas and the timing of the Texas primary in the 2016 contest suggest basing the early phase of his candidacy on building support among both groups of voters makes sense for Cruz. He is well regarded by both groups in his home state, suggesting that if he builds a foundation among these groups in the early primary and caucus states, he is likely to augment his national base of support by attracting their votes in Texas. Texas is scheduled to hold a March 1 primary, with its large number of delegates likely to be apportioned among competitive candidate if there are still multiple candidates in the race with no clear front runner. 

The Numbers Behind the Local Control Debate

March 19, 2015
By: 
Jim Henson, PhD
Joshua Blank, PhD

Critics have called some Republicans' swift turn against local control an opportunistic reaction to the Denton fracking ban. But the pushback has a foundation in public opinion.

The Politics of Pre-K in Texas

March 11, 2015
By: 
Jim Henson, PhD
Joshua Blank, PhD

Gov. Greg Abbott may have prioritized early education this year, but his support for modest changes to the state's pre-kindergarten system reflects the complicated divisions within his party.

How much will the GOP gamble on guns?

March 4, 2015
By: 
Jim Henson, PhD
Joshua Blank, PhD

The aura of inevitability around open carry legislation in Texas this year belies the divide among Republicans on the issue.

Strictly by the Book: A Quick Note on Biblical Literalism and Views on Legalizing Marijuana

March 3, 2015
By: 
Jim Henson, PhD
Joshua Blank, PhD

David Simpson's argument for more leniency when it comes to marijuana laws invites an examination of marijuana attitudes in Texas when broken down by how people describe their views of the Bible, given Simpson's reliance on the text for part of his argument.

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