Post Date: February 2021

A round-up of Texas leaders’ job approval ratings in the midst of multiple crises

| By: Jim Henson

The latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll contained our usual complement of assessments of Texas political leaders. In such an eventful historical environment, every polling period now seems to have some kind of major event -- in the artless language of the social sciences, we’ll call it some kind of “exogenous shock” -- and the period during which we collected data for this poll, February 12-19, was no exception, from the ongoing pandemic, the vaccine rollout, the statewide power outages, and some ill-timed travel by some state leaders. This post rounds up find job approval ratings and related results with some brief commentary and, where it seemed interesting, graphics of some relevant cross tabulations or trend data. 


February 2021 UT/Texas Tribune Poll finds familiar partisanship in attitudes toward leaders, differences in views of elections in the U.S. and in Texas

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

The Texas Tribune published the first batch of results from the February 2021 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll today, which included job approval and favorability ratings for state and national leaders as well as snapshots of Texas attitudes toward the accuracy of elections.


Shadows and Absences: Governor Abbott’s State of the State Speech Also Says a Lot About the State of the Texas GOP

| By: Jim Henson and Josh Blank

Greg Abbott’s “State of the State” speech, simultaneously an update to Texans and a notification to the Texas legislature of what he will designate as "emergency items," added one more instance to the many examples of the effects of Donald Trump’s continued possession of the Republican Party – with nary an exorcist in sight. The governor’s speech found him embracing a strategy that relies on holding close an activated Republican base who are willing to go along with downplaying the pandemic, particularly in the presence of other partisan specters, like the made-up theft of the presidential election or the threat to social order posed by ineffectual and largely overstated efforts to “defund the police.” On some issues, divisions among Republicans provide opportunities for Abbott to nudge the party away from the extremes of such fever dreams. But so far, Abbott has generally spent little effort doing so, and, as the GOP turns inward for the Legislative session and the business of governing the state moves front and center, the speech shows the governor remaining most attentive to those who are loudest and most disruptive. There were explicit signals in what Abbott said in the speech, but just as significant were his silences.


The Second Reading Podcast: The State of the State Address, 2021