Joshua Blank

Comparing Trump-Biden Vote Shares in Old and New Texas Congressional Districts

January 10, 2022
By: 
Joshua Blank

As campaigns and observers attempt to figure out where the most competitive congressional races will be in 2022, we can assess the change in competitiveness in electoral districts after redistricting by comparing the change in top-of-the-ticket 2020 vote shares won by major party candidates with the same results calculated using the new district lines.

Polling suggests Texas GOP-led election reform didn’t increase overall trust in state election results

January 6, 2022
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Public opinion polling in the aftermath of the election, and after a legislative session blown up by the intensive debate over GOP-sponsored election legislation, shows that trust in Texas’ official election results were not strengthened by the legislation pushed with deep determination by Republican legislators and signed with great fanfare by Governor Greg Abbott. In fact, both Democrats and Republicans showed a slight decrease in the intensity with which they believe in the validity of Texas elections. Only among independents – a generally less attentive and political engaged group – did belief in the accuracy of state elections increase.

A Rush for the Exits? Contextualizing Turnover in the Texas Legislature

December 15, 2021
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

It’s natural to look for patterns in legislators' decisions to not seek re-election to the offices they hold, especially retirements, and to view each as yet another factor in handicapping upcoming primary and general elections. This intuition finds some support in evidence that congressional retirements appear responsive to short-term electoral forces. Expectations that Democrats will face a tough election cycle this coming Fall with a Democrat in the White House and the majority of electoral maps constructed by Republican legislatures certainly inform the conventional wisdom as we prepare to ring in 2022.

But how well does this apply to the current slate of retirements and expected electoral turnover in the Texas Legislature?

Negative Partisanship in Texas Stifles Potential Crossover Voting in 2022

December 13, 2021
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

While there are other conceivable mobilization scenarios in which the policy output of 2021 might endanger GOP incumbents in 2022, public opinion polling in Texas strongly suggest that unpopular policy, even extremely unpopular policy, whether coming from the left or the right, is unlikely to spur many partisans to vote for a candidate of the opposing party.

Polling data illustrates why O’Rourke is so quick to criticize Biden on border security in early stages of Texas governor’s race

November 18, 2021
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

One of the interesting steps in the choreography of Beto O’Rourke’s long-awaited entrance as the presumptive Democratic candidate in the 2022 Texas governor’s race was a clear and early move to put some distance between himself and Democratic President Joe Biden on border security and immigration, signature issues for his almost-as-presumptive opponent, two-term incumbent Greg Abbott.

Beto O'Rourke finally steps in: Texas views of him over the course of his public career, 2018-2021

November 15, 2021
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

Beto O'Rourke makes his long-anticpated entry into the 2022 Texas gubernatorial election as the presumptive Democratic candidate, setting up a bruising general election contest with Gov. Greg Abbott in the general election as Abbott seeks re-election to a third term. On O'Rourke's first official day in the race, we've compiled highlights from polling in the Texas Politics Project polling data archive, dating from his losing challenge to Senator Ted Cruz in 2018 to results for the October 2021 University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll. 

Texas trend data on Texas attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to curb its impact

November 9, 2021
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The October 2021 University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll adds a eighth 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, and February, April, June and August of 2021. 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.

Tepid reviews for the red-hot legislative agenda in latest UT/Texas Tribune Poll results

November 8, 2021
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The second batch of results from the October 2021 UT/Texas Tribune Poll were released by The Texas Tribune Monday in stories by James Barragan on Texans’ judgments of their elected officials actions on issues discussed during the legislative session as well as other policy questions, and a piece by Abby Livingston on Texans’ views of the jobs Texas’ U.S. Senators are doing as well as chief executives’ handling of key political issues (COVID-19, the economy, and immigration and border security). 

Quick takeaways from the first wave of October 2021 UT/Texas Tribune Poll results

November 5, 2021
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The first wave of October, 2021 UT/Texas Tribune Poll results released by The Texas Tribune today focus on the 2022 election, covered in a story by Patrick Svitek, and Texans’ general attitudes toward elections, voting, and a little on redistricting, covered in a story by Cassandra Pollock. Look for more results early next week in the Tribune. On the whole, the results paint an interesting portrait of the public opinion terrain in the state a year out from the 2022 election. We’ll follow up with more analysis of the results in the coming weeks when we can connect different strands of material that won’t be rolled out until early next week. For today, here are a few first-takes on today’s results.

Feeding the property tax beast

October 20, 2021
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

One of the final acts of the third special session of the 87th Texas Legislature was the negotiation of SJR 2, a measure that, if approved by voters in May, would increase the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 beginning with the 2022 tax year. Property taxes have been a perennial source of griping, especially in areas of Texas experiencing rapid population growth, rapidly rising home values, and the corresponding increase in property tax bills. Of course, as policy makers have been frequently reminded during the long real estate boom in Texas, in Texas’ growth obsessed but revenue-constricted political economy, efforts to reduce property taxes enough for voters’ to actually feel the effects of legislative action are severely constrained. 

While the primary driver of that constraint is fiscal, another major constraint is public opinion. A decade of polling on property taxes illustrate that many voters notice those rising property tax bills, but are likely to be unimpressed with what ultimately amounts to legislative tinkering in efforts to validate some sort of claim that the incumbent government is addressing voters’ concerns.

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