Halloween is upon us, but it's already been a scary week for Jeb Bush and homeowners thinking about their property tax bills – but Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are trying their best to calm everyone down. Calm by nature, Dr. Ben Carson started the week off early causing a stir with his proclamation that he's against abortion in cases of rape and incest, while two of Texas politics' more animated politicians – Dan Patrick and Ted Cruz – essentially endorsed each other. Both Patrick and Governor Abbott also endorsed the legislature preventing so-called sanctuary cities in Texas, but not enough to require legislators to haunt Austin in a special session. Finally, President Obama followed the lead of Texas in pressing for a reduction in standardized testing – a treat for kids and their parents, who increasingly told pollsters they find frequent high stakes testing pretty ghastly.
Lt. Governor Patrick's interim charges represent a potpourri of issues ranging from the unsung operational stuff of government to the more provocative issues that rouse the GOP's voting base. University of Texas/Texas Tribune Polling suggests that the GOP primary electorate is much less interested in the details of issues like water and electricity than they are in issues like immigration, border security, and the vociferous protection and expansion of gun rights.
Gov. Greg Abbott may have prioritized early education this year, but his support for modest changes to the state's pre-kindergarten system reflects the complicated divisions within his party.
Given the high-level discourse that pervades The Texas Tribune Festival, it may seem uncouth to scrutinize the event in the context of polling. But it's a useful way to analyze what was happening onstage.
As Rick Perry hedges that he could yet again seek a presidential nomination, and the issue of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants continues to arise in GOP primary races, polling results help illustrate the challenges the issue poses for candidates.
The same voters who responded well to George W. Bush's education policies oppose one of its main components: the standardized tests introduced to make schools more accountable.
Education policy is usually a winner for Democratic candidates, but in Texas, things are more nuanced, especially when it comes to education spending. This year's race for governor race is a great example.
Education could be a tricky issue for gubernatorial candidates in 2014, with both the Democratic and Republican nominee having to navigate through unexpected cross-currents among their own constituencies.
Data from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll suggests that the issues Sen. Dan Patrick invokes in the latest ad in his bid for lieutenant governor serve up very inviting bait for conservative voters, the big fish in GOP primary elections.
Polling over the last two years from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune suggests that education has not become more salient to Texas voters, nor have perceptions of school quality suffered significantly.