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).
Amid divisions on Paxton and vouchers, border security remains the great Republican unifier in Texas
Within hours of the Texas Senate’s acquittal of Attorney General Ken Paxton, Gov. Greg Abbott’s statement on the verdict added one more exhibit supporting the argument that politics as usual were triumphant in the wake of the historic impeachment battle. Abbott’s statement was noticeably brief, in absolute terms and especially compared to the detailed statements issued by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick from the dais immediately after the Senate voted, and by Speaker of the House Dade Phelan in quick response. But the pithy sentence that capped Abbott’s (very) measured praise of Paxton spoke volumes with just a few words: “I look forward to continuing to work with him to secure the border and protect Texas from federal overreach."
In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank look at the multiple factors that shaped the decision of (most) Republicans in the Texas Senate's to reject the House's impeachment charges against Ken Paxton.
Donald Trump’s sudden reiteration of his fervent support for suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton during the 11th hour of his impeachment trial in the Texas Senate (delivered, of course, via social media) reminds anyone paying attention of their entangled trajectories. But with Paxton facing his potential moment of comeuppance in the Texas Senate, it also invites attention to Paxton’s significantly weaker position among Republican voters when compared to the seemingly limitless durability of Trump’s appeal among Texas Republicans.
Second Reading Podcast: Week One of the Paxton Trial + new UT/TxPP Polling on Border Security, Public Education
In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank review the first week of the impeachment trial of suspended attorney general Ken Paxton, and take a quick look at key results in the August 2023 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll.
Suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial in the Texas Senate is finally upon us. We worked to make data related to Paxton and the trial available before the weekend, which didn’t leave much time or space for analysis. As the trial begins, here are some observations about the poll results that incorporate more detail from the data, and more context for the politics of the historic events that will unfold this week on the floor of the Texas Senate.
The main points:
– Skepticism about Paxton’s impeachment and trial remains more evident and more intense among the most conservative Texans – but not decisively so.
– Erosion in public assessments of Paxton is evident in his job approval ratings, including among groups that are relatively more supportive of Him.
– Paxton can count on a comparatively high baseline of Republican belief that the investigations of the suspended attorney general are mostly political as opposed to mostly based on the facts.
– The latest poll results continue to confirm the absence of any public opinion data substantiating the “forgiveness” or “prior term” doctrine Paxton has invoked in his defense.
– Support for Paxton among his Republican constituents lacks the durability of Republicans' support of Trump.
With suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton's impeachment trial in the Texas Senate set to begin on Tuesday, September 5, a new University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds that a plurality of Texans, 47%, think Paxton took actions that justify removing him office, while 18% say he did not. Paxton fares slightly better among Republicans, though his partisan base remains divided, with the plurality unsure of whether Paxton should, or should not, be removed from office. See the post for links to summary doc and a new Second Reading podcast focused on the advance release of results related to the Paxton impeachment and trial.
Second Reading Podcast: Unpacking the notion of an informed electorate in the context of the Paxton impeachment trial
In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank discuss what UT/Texas Politics Project polling can tell us about Texan's attention to the Paxton impeachment – and the notion that his reelection implied voters' forgave for his legal and ethical troubles.