Keyword: 2016 Election
A look back at Texas attitudes toward matters related to Russia during the Trump presidency suggests how Donald Trump’s strange relations with Vladimir Putin and Russia influenced a reshaping of partisan views of the U.S.’s Cold War enemy – and provides a glimpse into the uncertainty around Republican voters’ views of the U.S. response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
This data also provides an opportunity to note the continuity between Russian efforts to weaken civil society in the U.S. by amplifying domestic political hostilities, and Putin’s larger cultural and geopolitical ambitions – now on clear display in Ukraine.
Attitudes in Texas Toward Mueller and His Investigation via the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll
With Robert Mueller testifying before two different House Committees about his report on the Russian interference in the 2016 election and related matters, we’re reminded that Texans' views of Mueller’s conduct of the investigation have been polarized along party lines everytime we asked Texans to assess his performance in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. These polarized views were not limited to Mueller himself; Texans divided along party lines on almost all related matters.
Amidst all the unknowns about this phase of the Mueller investigation, now that the "report" has been submitted, one thing we know from University of Texas/Texas Tribune Polling: reactions will be heavily determined by partisanship. Looking back over the time series of UT/TT Polls, attitudes towards Mueller, the Russia Investigation, and even the FBI as an organization split along partisan lines a considerable time ago.
Indictments of Russians Land Amidst Strong Partisan Views in Texas of Russian Meddling, Donald Trump Connection, Mueller
Among Texas voters, there is a now well established pattern in which views of even some of the basic facts of the Mueller investigation — like whether it has uncovered any crimes (it has) — appear heavily influenced by partisanship. As the Mueller investigation and Russian interference in the election hit the headlines once again, we round up relevant results for University of Texas / Texas Tribune polling (which largely resemble national results on similar items).
For years, Texas had a mythical independence that has somehow insulated the state’s culture and its politics from the nasty and increasingly deep-seated divisions that characterize so many other domains of American life. That’s now changed.
Whatever his origins outside the GOP establishment, Donald Trump has taken his place in the eyes of Texas Republican voters as the figurehead of their party. The June 2017 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll reveals direct signs of the Texas Republican voters’ embrace of Trump as well as signs of his indirect influence on the attitudes of Republican voters. This pattern of attitudes suggests a secure position among Texas voters and also means that, for better or for worse, Trump and Texas Republicans fates, for the present, are tightly intertwined.
While Republicans still outnumber Democrats in the electorate that we should expect to show up in a presidential election in Texas, going into Election Day, there are signs of a shift toward a historically smaller GOP margin of victory in the contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for the state's electoral votes. The October 2016 University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll also provides some insights into the different levels of unity among Democratic and Republican voters that also portends a better year for Democrats compared to a number of election cycles, though not an outright upset.
In a TribTalk piece this week looking at Donald Trump’s support in Texas as reflected in the most recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, we wrote that “If Trump has a woman problem of his own making, it's not with GOP women in Texas — at least when compared to their brothers, husbands, boyfriends, and fathers.” This conclusion was based on a look at our sample of 269 GOP women, within a larger sample of 1200 registered voters. The perhaps counter-intuitive take away from that brief discussion is that their party loyalty makes Republican women one of Donald Trump’s central assets in Texas, even if there has been some attrition in their support, likely due to the pile of evidence suggesting that he has treated many women very badly, and been recorded talking about it in very crude terms.
The picture painted by Texans' views of Donald Trump compared to Mitt Romney at this stage in the 2012 campaign clarifies why the presidential race has become much closer than anyone anticipated. The polling data also shed light on the nature of Trump's coalition and suggest that the attitudes sustaining Trump's candidacy in Texas will continue to play a role in GOP politics in Texas, regardless of the future of the candidate himself.
As we anticipate the results of the election, we can construct 3 different scenarios envisioning different election results in Texas. A “business-as-usual” scenario anticipates the election following typical characteristics and dynamics of Texas elections; another scenario might give more emphasis to some of the distinctive, specific factors that seem at play in this election as evidenced in recent poll results; and an X-factor scenario that might emphasize the possibility of a very significant divergence from patterns both recent polling and history have led us to expect.