Post Date: February 2018
66, 81, 67, -21, 77... and other telling numbers hiding in plain sight in the latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll.
Amidst the discussion of how much the Texas midterm elections will be nationalized — in effect, a referendum on Donald Trump — the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll provides an opportunity to look closely at Trump’s place in the attitudinal landscape of Texans.
In the February 2018 poll released today, we rely on past vote history to determine whether or not we should consider someone to be a likely voter, and in particular, past primary voting history. For a respondent’s opinion to be considered in our primary trial ballot estimates, he or she had to have participated in a Texas party primary in 2012, 2014, or 2016.
With primary elections in Texas just days away, public opinion polling is inevitably seeping into the discussion of an unusually active political season. Campaigns are starting to release their internal polling in efforts to shape the news coverage and perception of races, and of course the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll will follow its more or less regular schedule and appear sometime prior to Election Day. Purveyors of public polls like the UT/Texas Tribune Poll are once again faced with the unenviable task of providing context and (unfortunately) implied predictions about what’s going to happen in nominating contests for the state’s top offices.
The week started with very bad news for Lupe Valdez, while state campaign finance reports revealed how the Governor and Lt. Governor are spending their campaign largesse in the absence of any real primary challengers. Patrick Svitek of the Texas Tribune also posited the absence of one of the issues that roiled the legislative session in primary campaigns, despite some predictions (even promises) to the contrary. We took a break on national politics this week, though we note with many others that some national polling is suggesting that the much-discussed Democratic wave might be breaking farther from shore than exuberant Democrats and glum Republicans have been thinking.
Political courage took a back seat to political calculation as the renegade memo on the investigation of Carter Page was made public, completing the eclipse of the President’s State of the Union and, at least for the moment, the increasingly corrosive immigration debate. While the fiddling continues in a smoldering Washington, D.C., the Comptroller delivered bad news of a more mundane variety to the Senate Finance Committee this week, while financial bad news of a different sort added to the woes of a (somewhat) surprisingly beleaguered George P. Bush in his increasingly contentious primary battle to remain Land Commissioner. Beto had better financial news than either Glenn or George P. (That sentence shows why the first name thing works better for O’Rourke). National media attention to a report on white supremacist groups focusing recruiting efforts on college campuses featured their fairly piddling efforts on Texas campuses, through our data suggests that White Supremacy pretty clearly doesn’t have a data analytics department.