New UT/Texas Politics Project Poll: Half of Texas voters say the impeachment of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton was justified

As the Texas Senate begins the historically unprecedented process of trying the suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton on 31 articles of impeachment, a majority of Texas’ registered voters think the House was justified in impeaching the three-term incumbent, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll.

Asked whether they thought the Texas House of Representatives was justified in impeaching Attorney General Ken Paxton, 50% said it was justified, 17% said it was not, and a third (33%) had no opinion. Paxton was impeached by a vote of 121-23 by the Texas House of Representatives on May 27. The Texas Senate is meeting June 20 for a highly anticipated discussion of the rules governing the suspended Attorney General’s trial in the upper chamber.

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categoryTotal
Yes, justified50%
No, not justified17%
Don't know/No opinion33%

The poll, conducted June 2-12, found Republicans closely divided: 31% said the impeachment was justified, 30% though it was not, with the plurality, 39%, currently holding no opinion. Democratic views were more lopsided in support of the House’s action: nearly three quarters (73%) thought the House was justified in impeaching Paxton, 6% thought the impeachment wasn’t justified, and 21% had no opinion. Independents were characteristically less opinionated, though leaned substantially toward thinking the impeachment was justified (40%), while only 15% thought it was unjustified and the plurality, 44%, holding no opinion.

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Yes, justified73%40%31%
No, not justified6%15%30%
Don't know/No opinion21%44%39%

Paxton's job approval ratings declined since polling conducted by the Texas Politics Project in April before the impeachment. In April, Paxton received approval for his job performance from 39% of Texas voters and disapproval from 35% (net +4). Since his impeachment, June polling finds 30% approving (a 5 point decline) and 41% disapproving (net -11). These are Paxton's worst overall job approval ratings in Texas Politics Project polling going back to June 2021.

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categoryApproveDisapproveDon't know
Apr. 202132%36%31%
June 202133%36%32%
Aug. 202135%38%28%
Oct. 202135%37%28%
Feb. 202232%35%33%
Apr. 202234%36%30%
June 202234%39%27%
Aug. 202237%38%25%
Oct. 202236%39%26%
Dec. 202241%37%21%
Feb. 202335%38%26%
Apr. 202339%35%26%
June 202330%41%28%
Aug. 202327%46%28%
Oct. 202332%42%25%
Dec. 202335%38%26%
Feb. 202441%37%22%

As Paxton looks for public support from his fellow partisans, his job approval among Republicans decreased sharply between April and June, from 65% approving and 13% disapproving (net +52) in April to 51% approving and 19% disapproving (net +32) in June. His job approvals dropped similarly among self identified conservatives.

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Q8DApproveDisapproveDon't know
Apr. 202159%11%30%
June 202158%10%32%
Aug. 202161%11%28%
Oct. 202165%12%23%
Feb. 202255%13%31%
Apr. 202262%8%30%
June 202260%15%25%
Aug. 202266%13%22%
Oct. 202265%12%24%
Dec. 202273%7%19%
Feb. 202365%9%27%
Apr. 202365%13%23%
June 202351%19%30%
Aug. 202346%23%31%
Oct. 202350%20%30%
Dec. 202358%15%28%
Feb. 202461%16%23%

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Q8DApproveDisapproveDon't know
Apr. 202160%12%27%
June 202159%12%29%
Aug. 202162%12%27%
Oct. 202166%10%23%
Feb. 202256%15%29%
Apr. 202262%10%27%
June 202259%16%25%
Aug. 202265%14%21%
Oct. 202264%12%24%
Dec. 202270%11%18%
Feb. 202363%10%26%
Apr. 202363%13%24%
June 202350%23%27%
Aug. 202346%22%32%
Oct. 202354%20%26%
Dec. 202361%16%24%
Feb. 202463%16%22%

The latest University of Texas / Texas Politics Project Poll was conducted June 2-12 among 1,200 self-identified registered voters in Texas. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 2.83%. A topline document for the results related to Ken Paxton can be found here, while detailed cross-tabs will be released when all of the data is released. 

The remaining results from the June poll will be released Thursday, June 22. Topics covered by the poll include Texans’ assessments and expectations of the Legislature’s actions on issues including property taxes, the reliability of the grid, public education, educational savings accounts, border security, immigration, and other priorities. Check back to the Texas Politics Project or join the mailing list below for advance notice and analysis of the poll. Subscribe to the Second Reading Podcast on your preferred platform for a discussion of the results among the Texas Politics Project Poll team also coming later this week.

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