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. Check out Ross Ramsey's stories in the Texas Tribune for the full day-one write-ups, but we’ve gathered a few highlights from the first batch. As always, we’ll provide all of the files related to the poll and more analyses next week after the Tribune takes their crack. The poll was conducted February 12-18 and sample 1200 self-identified registered voters — full methodological information is available here.
As Joe Biden visits Texas for the first time since defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 election, 45% of Texas voters approve of the job he's doing as president (30% strongly approve), while 44% disapprove (39% strongly disapprove). The essentially even split in sentiment reflects unsurprisingly sharp partisan differences: 89% of Democrats approve of Biden's performance (64% strongly), while 80% of Republicans disapprove (72% strongly).
|Neither approve nor disapprove||9%|
|Neither approve nor disapprove||7%||19%||8%|
Among Texas leaders, Governor Greg Abbott's overall job approval was largely unchanged since the last UT/TT Poll: 46% approve of the job he's doing, 39% disapprove, after a 47/40 approve/disapprove rating in October 2020. See the Tribune story for more detail on approval ratings for Senators Ted Cruz (45 approve/43 disapprove) and John Cornyn (32 approve/42 disapprove), as well as Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (37 approve/36 disapprove) and Speaker of the House Dade Phelan (22 approve/18 disapprove/60 have no opinion).
With the legislature poised to consider several pieces of legislation related to the conduct of elections, the poll found sharp differences in Texans' assessments of the accuracy of official election results in the U.S. and in Texas. Broadly based Republican skepticism informed results expressing doubts about the accuracy of "official election results" in the U.S. While a relatively small plurality said U.S. election results were "very accurate" (36%), nearly as many (30%) said they were "very inaccurate." Looking at partisans’ attitudes, more than half of Republicans (52%) said the elections were “very inaccurate,” joined by another 21% who thought the results were "somewhat inaccurate." By comparison, only 4% of Democrats thought the results were very inaccurate, and 2% "somewhat inaccurate."
|Don't know/No opinion||6%|
|Don't know/No opinion||5%||14%||4%|
As the legislature discusses a raft of changes to laws regulating elections in the state, many being promoted under the banner of “election integrity,” the poll found that Texans view election results in the state as more (if not largely) accurate: 43% said Texas election results were “very accurate,” and only 5% said they were “very inaccurate.” There were similar partisan differences, though against a much lower level of serious doubt about the integrity of the Texas system: 65% of Democrats thought Texas election results were “very accurate,” with another 23% judging them “somewhat accurate.” Among Republicans, 30% opted for “very accurate,” 46% for “somewhat accurate.”
|Don't know/No opinion||6%|
|Don't know/No opinion||4%||18%||4%|
The poll also checked in on Texans’ views on Donald Trump for the first time since leaving the White House, along the way claiming, without evidence, to have won the presidential election and being impeached by the House of Representatives but acquitted by the U.S. Senate. Views of him have remained largely unchanged since the October UT/Texas Tribune Poll, conducted shortly before Trump won Texas’ electoral votes. After losing the presidential election despite his Texas victory, the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on the day of the electoral college certification, and his subsequent impeachment by the House and acquittal in the Senate, 46% of Texas voters view him favorably and another 46% unfavorably. In another item, 48% do not believe that Trump took actions while president that justify preventing him from holding future elected office, 45% believe he should be prevented from holding any future office.
|Don't know/No opinion||6%||15%||6%|
|Don't know/No opinion||7%|
While the results of another major battery of questions in our ongoing efforts to track Texans’ attitudes on the COVID-19 pandemic won’t be released until Monday, today’s release did include assessments of how President Biden and Governor Abbott are handling the COVID-19 epidemic. As Ross Ramsey points out in today’s Texas Tribune coverage, ratings of the job Gov. Abbott has done on the pandemic grew slightly less negative, though they have decreased overall since the beginning of the epidemic. In an April UT/Texas Tribune poll, 56% approved of Abbott’s handling of the pandemic; that number has dropped to 44% in the most recent poll.
|Neither approve nor disapprove||14%|
|Neither approve nor disapprove||6%|
|Neither approve nor disapprove||6%||32%||17%|
|Neither approve nor disapprove||4%||7%||7%|