Revisiting Texas attitudes on immigration and border security as Abbott doubles down in McAllen with Donald Trump
As the Thanksgiving holiday and the expiration date of a fourth special session of the Texas Legislature draw near, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican legislative majority are close to enacting a new batch of legislation related to immigrants and border security that yet again push the boundaries of both the U.S. Constitution and historical norms around the treatment of migrants and immigrants in the U.S.. Expect the new legal and rhetorical boundaries (or lack thereof) around “securing the border” to be on full display when Gov. Abbott and Donald Trump stage a joint visit to McAllen this weekend, where Abbott is expected to endorse Trump’s bid to return to the White House and the two are expected to discuss “future plans for curbing illegal immigration.”
Even as people who work in the Texas Capitol continue to obsess about the death match over school choice playing out in the legislature in the final days of the special session, it should be no surprise that Republicans from Trump and Abbott down to legislative backbenchers all view immigration and border security as their political lifelines after a bruising year of unprecedented political infighting. With the prospects of delivering an ESA/voucher/choice bill still too close to call amidst continued resistance in the Texas House, there's no denying the political logic of keeping immigration and border security on the legislative agenda, which sustain Republican campaigns in both primary and general election campaigns more than any other policy issues.
Second Reading Podcast: An odd rejection in the Texas Constitutional Amendment election as the Texas Legislature tries again in a 4th Special Session
Texas voters affirm most of the legislature's Constitutional Amendments , but GOP disagreements simmer on in yet another special session. Jim Henson and Joshua Blank look at results from the off-year election in Texas and the U.S., and ponder legislative politics as yet another special session gets underway.
The Attorney General’s current and promised public efforts to strike back at enemies from within his own party make questions about Paxton’s standing with the public – especially Republican voters’ views of the now concluded impeachment and trial, and of Paxton himself – a practical matter for incumbent legislators preparing to face primary challengers who, in some cases, will be looking to rely on Paxton’s support. To a lesser extent, but maybe more consequentially, these public perceptions also bear on the question of how much deep funders of those challengers will attempt to use Paxton as an asset in their recurring efforts to dislodge Republicans not to their liking.
Second Reading Podcast: Texas public opinion toward vouchers and Ken Paxton in the latest UT/Texas Politics Project Poll
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank look at Texans' views of vouchers as the legislature remains at an impasse on the issue, and discuss what the latest UT/Texas Politics Project Poll reveals about views of Ken Paxton as his securities fraud trial begins in Houston.
New UT/ Texas Politics Project Poll: Trump still dominates presidential race in Texas, no movement on vouchers, and signs of a Paxton recovery among Republicans
With one year to go before the 2024 presidential election, the latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds former president Donald Trump dominating a crowded Republican primary field and holding a comfortable lead in a hypothetical re-match with President Joe Biden, who faces no serious competition in the Democratic primary so far. The poll also asked Texans about educational savings accounts and other public education issues at the center of the third special session of the 88th Texas Legislature currently underway in Austin. The poll found a modest majority, 51%, supportive of “establishing a voucher, educational savings account, or other ‘school choice’ program in Texas,” with slightly less than a third, 30%, opposed, and 19% holding no opinion. The latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll was conducted October 5-17, 2023, among 1200 self-declared registered voters in Texas. The margin error for topline results is +/- 2.83% (3.3% adjusted for weighting).
Second Reading Podcast: Early soundings of the 2024 election season in the latest UT/Texas Politics Project Poll
Jim Henson, Josh Blank, and Daron Shaw discuss results related to the 2024 election in the just-released UT/Texas Politics Project Poll.
Job approval trends for Texas statewide incumbents and other trend data from the Texas Politics Project poll data archive (October 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.
Jim Henson and Josh Blank discuss how intraparty fights among Republicans in the US Congress and the Texas Legislature reveals the multiple axes of conflict in the GOP, and the shifting ideological terrain of the party both nationally and in Texas.
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank discuss how Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's special session agenda taps into the GOP primary electorate, and look at the latest hostilities between Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dade Phelan.
Special Session agenda inflames intraparty GOP voucher conflict, while tapping into broad Republican consensus on border, immigration, COVID, and vaccines
Gov. Greg Abbott’s much-anticipated agenda for the third Special session of the 88th Legislature delivered the expected calls for action on vouchers and items related to immigration and border security, with the addition of another nod to the concerns of the right wing of his party, legislation prohibiting COVID-19 vaccines by private employers.
Confronting the voucher issue yet again – unavoidable as a result of campaign promises, elite politics with the Texas GOP (especially involving the governor and lieutenant governor), and the deep pockets of a small but persistent group of large donors – promises to stoke the already-raging internecine conflicts among Republicans in the legislature. The remaining items – focused on immigration and border security issues and the retro-feeling COVID vaccine item – will intentionally remind Republicans that there are plenty of things that unite the mostly extreme-right activists who are most fired up about vouchers (and the injustices meted out to Attorney General Paxton) and the less activated Republican voters (and elected officials, for that matter) who are less attentive to, let alone motivated by, either vouchers or the Paxton imbroglio.