Amid divisions on Paxton and vouchers, border security remains the great Republican unifier in Texas
Within hours of the Texas Senate’s acquittal of Attorney General Ken Paxton, Gov. Greg Abbott’s statement on the verdict added one more exhibit supporting the argument that politics as usual were triumphant in the wake of the historic impeachment battle. Abbott’s statement was noticeably brief, in absolute terms and especially compared to the detailed statements issued by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick from the dais immediately after the Senate voted, and by Speaker of the House Dade Phelan in quick response. But the pithy sentence that capped Abbott’s (very) measured praise of Paxton spoke volumes with just a few words: “I look forward to continuing to work with him to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach."
As they struggle to claim the cloak of public approval for their respective causes, advocates both for and against voucher or voucher-like programs will resume a familiar pattern (at least to non-partisan pollsters) of praising or criticizing public opinion polling that either supports or undermines their efforts to claim public support. In doing so, both sides will heavily rely on the same argument when responding to survey results they don’t like, to the effect of: well, wouldn’t the results have been different if you had asked that question differently? Yes. The results would be different if you asked a different question – because it’s a different question.
In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank look at the multiple factors that shaped the decision of (most) Republicans in the Texas Senate's to reject the House's impeachment charges against Ken Paxton.
Donald Trump’s sudden reiteration of his fervent support for suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton during the 11th hour of his impeachment trial in the Texas Senate (delivered, of course, via social media) reminds anyone paying attention of their entangled trajectories. But with Paxton facing his potential moment of comeuppance in the Texas Senate, it also invites attention to Paxton’s significantly weaker position among Republican voters when compared to the seemingly limitless durability of Trump’s appeal among Texas Republicans.
Second Reading Podcast: Week One of the Paxton Trial + new UT/TxPP Polling on Border Security, Public Education
In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank review the first week of the impeachment trial of suspended attorney general Ken Paxton, and take a quick look at key results in the August 2023 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll.
Latest UT/Texas Politics Project Poll finds Texas Republicans’ support for Donald Trump unwavering amidst multiple indictments
As the 2024 race for the Republican nomination begins to take shape, the August 2023 University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds Texas Republicans’ continued support for former president Donald Trump evident in several results ranging from general assessments to attitudes toward the criminal indictments against him, the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, and beliefs about the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol led by supporters of the former president.
The poll also contained questions about attitudes in major issues on the public agenda in Texas, including public education, immigration and border policy, business engagement of public policy issues, and expectations about property tax rates. It also asked about Texans’ perceptions of discrimination in the U.S., their attention to major issues recently in the news media, and their assessment of various sources of potential threats to the United States. Selected results are presented below – more detailed discussion of results will follow in the coming weeks.
Job approval trends for Texas statewide incumbents and other trend data from the Texas Politics Project poll data archive (August 2023 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll update)
This page compiles graphics for trends in job approval ratings of the current statewide incumbents (Governor, Lt. Governor, U.S. Senators) that Texans rate on every poll . Bookmark the page for easy reference – we’ve also added similar graphics for trends in Texans’ assessment of conditions in Texas and the U.S., and some archival results for comparison with leaders no longer in office.
Suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial in the Texas Senate is finally upon us. We worked to make data related to Paxton and the trial available before the weekend, which didn’t leave much time or space for analysis. As the trial begins, here are some observations about the poll results that incorporate more detail from the data, and more context for the politics of the historic events that will unfold this week on the floor of the Texas Senate.
The main points:
– Skepticism about Paxton’s impeachment and trial remains more evident and more intense among the most conservative Texans – but not decisively so.
– Erosion in public assessments of Paxton is evident in his job approval ratings, including among groups that are relatively more supportive of Him.
– Paxton can count on a comparatively high baseline of Republican belief that the investigations of the suspended attorney general are mostly political as opposed to mostly based on the facts.
– The latest poll results continue to confirm the absence of any public opinion data substantiating the “forgiveness” or “prior term” doctrine Paxton has invoked in his defense.
– Support for Paxton among his Republican constituents lacks the durability of Republicans' support of Trump.
With suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial in the Texas Senate set to begin on Tuesday, September 5, a new University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds that a plurality of Texans, 47%, think Paxton took actions that justify removing him office, while 18% say he did not. Paxton fares slightly better among Republicans, though his partisan base remains divided, with the plurality unsure of whether Paxton should, or should not, be removed from office. See the post for links to summary doc and a new Second Reading podcast focused on the advance release of results related to the Paxton impeachment and trial.
Second Reading Podcast: Unpacking the notion of an informed electorate in the context of the Paxton impeachment trial
In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank discuss what UT/Texas Politics Project polling can tell us about Texan's attention to the Paxton impeachment – and the notion that his reelection implied voters' forgave for his legal and ethical troubles.