Blog

Tracking Congressional Change in Texas as the Republican Retirement Rush Continues

| By: Jim Henson

Republican Congressman Bill Flores' (CD-17) announcement that he won't seek re-election brings the number of GOP retirements to five, further fueling speculation about the extent and implications of increasing partisan competition in Texas. These graphics look at congressional turnover in the last several sessions overall, by cause of exit, and by party.  The Texas Politics Project will keep these current, so bookmark the page.

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Attitudes in Texas Toward Mueller and His Investigation via the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll

| By: Jim Henson

With Robert Mueller testifying before two different House Committees about his report on the Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters, we’re reminded that Texans' views of Mueller’s conduct of the investigation have been polarized along party lines everytime we asked Texans to assess his performance in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. These polarized views were not limited to Mueller himself; Texans divided along party lines on almost all related matters. 

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The Tale of Senator Cornyn's Poll Numbers as Democrats Line Up For the Chance To Challenge Him in 2020

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The recent addition of two more names to the list of Democratic primary candidates vying to face incumbent U.S. Senator John Cornyn again raises the immediate question of Cornyn’s prospects in 2020. We focus on University of Texas/Texas Tribune Polling data to look at Cornyn’s position among the Texas electorate to assess the position of the U.S. Senator that has held the office since 2002, a political eternity for a Texas Republican Party that took control of the state the same year. Cornyn was there at the beginning of the period of GOP dominance and has risen to one of the top positions in the Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate. Yet his standing in his home state, even through two successful reelection campaigns, has always suffered in comparison both to the political leaders that were his contemporaries and to the more recent generation of GOP elected officials who rose in his shallow wake.

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Castro and O’Rourke’s Standing in Texas ahead of First Democratic Debates

| By: Joshua Blank

At this, admittedly, extremely early stage in the process, let’s take a look at where each stands among Texas voters, and in particular, Texas Democrats and liberals ahead of the first Democratic debates.

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The public opinion underpinning of Texas GOP leaders' pivot back to immigration and border security

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

We wrote earlier this week about the very real possibility that despite a legislative session defined by a concerted effort to focus on "the big issues," it would be difficult for statewide leaders to provide their incumbent members with much insulation from the chaotic national political environment based on legislative acheivements. The public unveiling of another National Guard deployment accompanied by sharp criticism of a national government that includes a Republican President and Senate majority hedges bets on those legislative achievements -- and nods heavily toward the Republican primaries in March 2020. 

Below is a quick round-up of some relevant polling data from the June 2019 UT/Texas Tribune Poll.

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Texans' Faint Praise for the Legislature could get swamped by National Politics

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Judgments about the actual policy achievements of the 86th necessarily await their implementation and evidence of sustainability. In the meantime, legislative incumbents will hope to bask in the faint praise they earned in 2019, while worrying that they might well be drowned out in another election year defined by the deafening volume of chaotic national politics. 

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Attitudes Toward Donald Trump in Texas as His Re-election Campaign Kicks Off

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Donald Trump formally kicked off his presidential campaign in Orlando, Florida this week, amplified by a (now classic) Trump injection of immigration politics. We've assembled various aspects of Texas voter attitudes toward him based on data from the just-released June 2019 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

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Trump's Mexican Trade War Could Imperil Texas Republicans in 2020

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

President Trump’s announced plan to pressure the Mexican government to stop the flow of migrants from Central America by imposing a blanket tariff on goods imported into the U.S. risks economic disruption, and political headaches for GOP incumbents on the ballot in 2020.

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Why is the Lieutenant Governor Killing the House’s Buzz on Marijuana Decriminalization and Medical Cannabis?

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Talk of the Texas Legislature passing some legislation to lighten the state’s traditionally harsh marijuana laws have been in the air since long before the 86th legislature got underway in January. The expectations, cultivated by a combination of optimistic advocates and click-seeking news outlets, were fleetingly validated with the House of Representatives’ passage of Rep. Joe Moody’s bill (ultimately watered down) containing reduced misdemeanor penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and lowering the threshold for having those convictions expunged from one’s record. 

The euphoria among supporters, however, was short lived.

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The polling told you so: The sales tax trial balloon plummets to earth

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The Texas Senate’s rejection of the much-hyped proposal by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House to ask voters to approve a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax has produced what passes for high drama in the Capitol. The Senate’s outright rejection of an approach promoted by its presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, only worsened the already obvious problems in the House, where Democrats are publicly unified in their opposition amidst lower-key but palpable skepticism among House members who have to run in GOP primaries next year. (Shortly after the original version of this post appeared in TribTalk on May 7, the House sponsor of the bills pulled them from consideration, all but guaranteeing the death of the sales tax increase.)

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