Post Date: February 2016
With citizens in 13 states, including Texas, voting today in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, many are expecting the particulars of the nominating races to become a lot clearer by later this evening – or at the very least, by early tomorrow morning – to the delight and, depending on the outcome, chagrin of many in both parties. While there's no shortage of sub-narratives and important secondary questions to be poured over in the days and weeks ahead (including in this very blog), the overarching questions for each party are rather simple.
While we found the most recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll chock full of fascinating results on attitudes toward issues that illuminate much of the recent political discussion in the 2016 races in both Texas and the U.S., with the Texas primary coming up Tuesday it seems appropriate to look at some of the undercurrents of the results from the trial ballots in the presidential nominating contests, including Cruz's standing with extremely conservative voters as well as some slippage in his standing, the Clinton-Sanders race, Texans' views of outsiders, and more.
Ideology is a tricky and multi-faceted concept with multiple definitions, a problem made more complicated by the fact that definitions and understandings of ideological labels can also change over time. Most voters aren't really ideological by many of the conventional definitions, but ideology as a label still carries import, even when devoid of complex or even clear meaning. Given this, in the February 2016 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll we wanted to assess whether Texas voters are in fact perceiving the ideological distinctions that many of the candidates are attempting to draw, and where differences in ideological perceptions manifest when they do. To do this, we asked respondents
With Donald Trump seemingly headed toward big wins in both the South Carolina and Nevada primaries and Texas’ proportional representation primary less than two weeks away, the magnitude of Ted Cruz’s strength in Texas, and its geographic distribution, loom as major factors on Super Tuesday. Technically, Super Tuesday actually got underway in Texas on Monday, when early voting for the primary election started. Guns were back in the news this week as another private university took advantage of the campus-carry opt-out privilege accorded private institutions even as the University of Texas at Austin begrudgingly announced its policy, which reflected the legislature’s concerted effort to force public universities to allow guns in classrooms. The legislature continued its vision of protecting Constitutional guarantees Wednesday when the Senate State Affairs Committee held a hearing on their interim charge to protect sincerely held religious beliefs from the depredations of government. At several points in that hearing, the testimony flared into the kind of vituperative opposition to gay and lesbian rights that would have pleased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died over the weekend near Marfa. The stakes of choosing Scalia’s successor on the high court couldn’t be higher, including among Republicans whose faith in the court was shaken by the court’s decisions affirming gay marriage and the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act – decisions from which Justice Scalia dissented with characteristic color.
Four graphics looking at early voting patterns in Texas since 2008.
The post-New Hampshire exits of Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie are unlikely to cause major movements in Texas, but the struggles of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to expand their appeals to young people and racial and ethnic minorities, respectively, will be major factors in the Texas Democratic Primary. Down ballot in Texas, this week saw the factional conflicts in the Texas GOP continue to approach the boiling point as candidates released videos and oppo hits as March 1 approaches. Attorney General Ken Paxton, of course, isn’t worried at all about the indictments piling up against him, but nonetheless is probably glad that he’s not on the ballot right this minute. Amidst all the complex cross currents in Texas right now, The New York Times op-ed page is pretty clearly not very concerned about the details. Proceed for relevant Texas data and a few thoughts on the week in politics.
The Texas political world is all in a tizzy this week after Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses, using a combination of evangelical support, streamlined political science, crack campaign organization, and, of course, charm. Seems a sure thing that Marco Rubio will make a play in Texas, and to this end he announced his “Texas Leadership Team". Speaking of wanting to lead, aspiring Texas GOP-chair Jared Woodfill announced while on his day job that his client, the fake fetal tissue dealer David Daleiden of Planned-Parenthood-sting-gone-wrong fame, would not take a plea deal offered by the Harris County DA, presumably at least in part to use the trial as a forum to air his views on abortion (after all, he’s an activist). For those who really want the inside baseball on abortion politics, theDallas Morning News took a good look at the competing anti-abortion groups in Texas, pegging the story of dueling defenders of all things life to their taking sides in the fight between Pro-Straus and anti-Straus forces in the GOP primary. Their struggle inspired us to include a bonus video.
In the aftermath of Sen. Ted Cruz's narrow first place finish in the Iowa Republican caucuses, we've gathered up some different survey results capturing attitudes toward Sen. Cruz in the most recent University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll. Start with the trend graphics of his favorability ratings between May 2012 and November 2015, then have a look at his favorability ratings and job approval numbers from the most recent poll in November. There are 58 graphics – and you can download them in different formats, too.