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Five First-Cut Takeaways from the February 2017 UT/Texas Tribune Poll

| By: Jim Henson

The Texas Tribune published stories all week long on the February 2017 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, and we'll be mulling and writing about the results in the coming weeks.  Ross Ramsey wrote stories about it all week long, bless his heart.  But here are some first takes to end the week.  We've posted many graphics, including lots of crosstabs at the latest poll page at the Texas Politics Project website - we'll post data files soon.

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The Limits of Public Polling on Texas Bathroom Access

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Advocates of proposed legislation that would constrain or reverse efforts by local governments to guarantee transgender people access to public facilities of their choice repeatedly have invoked public opinion polling as evidence of broad public support for the legislation. The currently available polling, however, provides only tentative information about public attitudes toward the highest profile legislation, Senate Bill 6. Because access to public facilities is a comparatively new issue on the public agenda, most people are still forming opinions about it, which makes attention to the intentions and uses of different kinds of polling critical to assessing how polling is used for advocacy on this and other issues.

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If Only We Had a Meter: Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics, Feb 11, 2017

| By: Jim Henson

In what should be expected to be a continuing trend, the last week saw national news not only dominate coverage, but also touch Texas directly, even as each chamber of the legislature got a little busier, albeit each at their own respective pace.  Though there were no other signs of the apocalypse, the Lt. Governor called a press conference promoting a Politifact column in the local paper, where he also again invoked polling that he says supports SB 6.  That claim is pretty complicated, but that’s another story. Read on for some data points that shed light on some of the week’s political developments.

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House Committees of the 85th Legislature Compared to the 84th in a Handy Table

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Speaker of the House Joe Straus announced today the House committees for the 85th Legislative session. Here's a look at what's changed and what's remained the same in one handy table. 

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What Bathroom Bill? Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics, February 3, 2017

| By: Jim Henson

Governor Greg Abbott’s state of the state speech to the Texas Legislature provided the big event of the week, and it yielded the emergency designations that enabled Senate committees to propel two of the four emergency items – sanctuary cities legislation and ethics reform – out of committee. This meant an early-session, late night meeting of the Senate State Affairs committee, punctuated by heated feelings from the gallery likely spurred on by the polarized national reactions to Donald Trump’s delivery on his campaign promise to halt the flow of Syrian refugees, and more broadly to stem the entry of Muslims into the country, which, in effect, he did last week with his executive orders. The week also saw Lt. Governor Dan Patrick preside over the unveiling of Senator Larry Taylor’s SB 4, the long awaited school choice bill providing for educational savings accounts and a scholarship program for private school students funded by redirected insurance premium tax funds. No sign of the v-word here! Read on for data related to the week in Texas politics.

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Public Opinion and Gov. Abbott's State of the State Address

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

In his much-anticipated state of the state address before the legislature, Governor Abbott declared four emergency items. At the top of the list, as widely expected, he called the Legislature to work swiftly and comprehensively on addressing problems in child protective services and foster care. “Do it right!,” he exhorted them shortly before revealing it as his top emergency item. The Governor also declared banning Sanctuary cities, ethics reform, and a measure calling for a Convention of the states to consider constitutional amendments – one of his pet projects.

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When Evaluating Public Support for Immigration Ban, Look Beyond National Polling

| By: Joshua Blank

If one examines the attitudes held among the voters that Trump's executive action is intended to excite, either regionally and/or within the broader national polling data hidden within the crosstabs, the results are far from ambiguous.

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Texas Attitudes on Border Wall, Muslim Immigration, and Syrian Refugees

| By: Joshua Blank

With President Trump expected to move forward on campaign promises to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and to curtail immigration through executive action/order today, here's a quick look at where Texans stand on some of these issues from recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Polling.

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A Table With a First-Cut Comparison of House and Senate Budget Proposals for 2018-2019

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The House and Senate released their initial budget proposals this week, and with the help of the Legislative Budget Board, we've compiled a quick comparison of the starting point of negotiations.

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Let the Games Begin: Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics, January 20, 2017

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

As the week ends with a historically unique presidential succession, politics in Texas have a more familiar ring as set pieces of the legislative session play out safely removed from that nasty Washington, D.C. swamp. Kind of. The week saw attempted mobilization of interest groups in the continuing efforts to shape the agenda, budgetary politics between the two chambers of the Legislature, fuel for the never-ending speculation on the next election cycle in Texas, the unveiling of committee assignments in the Senate, and a ruling in the running court battle over Planned Parenthood’s participation in Medicaid in Texas.

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