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Job approval trends for Texas statewide incumbents and other trend data from the Texas Politics Project poll data archive (October 2023 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll update)

| By: Texas Politics Project

This page compiles graphics for trends in job approval ratings of the current statewide incumbents (Governor, Lt. Governor, U.S. Senators) that Texans rate on every poll. Bookmark the page for easy reference – we’ve also added similar graphics for trends in Texans’ assessment of conditions in Texas and the U.S., and some archival results for comparison with leaders no longer in office.

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Second Reading Podcast: The Kaleidoscope of Republican Politics

| By: Texas Politics Project

Jim Henson and Josh Blank discuss how intraparty fights among Republicans in the US Congress and the Texas Legislature reveals the multiple axes of conflict in the GOP, and the shifting ideological terrain of the party both nationally and in Texas.

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Second Reading Podcast: Public Opinion and Gov. Abbott's special session agenda

| By: Texas Politics Project

Jim Henson and Joshua Blank discuss how Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's special session agenda taps into the GOP primary electorate, and look at the latest hostilities between Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dade Phelan.

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Special Session agenda inflames intraparty GOP voucher conflict, while tapping into broad Republican consensus on border, immigration, COVID, and vaccines

| By: Jim Henson

Gov. Greg Abbott’s much-anticipated agenda for the third Special session of the 88th Legislature delivered the expected calls for action on vouchers and items related to immigration and border security, with the addition of another nod to the concerns of the right wing of his party, legislation prohibiting COVID-19 vaccines by private employers. 

Confronting the voucher issue yet again – unavoidable as a result of campaign promises, elite politics with the Texas GOP (especially involving the governor and lieutenant governor), and the deep pockets of a small but persistent group of large donors – promises to stoke the already-raging internecine conflicts among Republicans in the legislature. The remaining items – focused on immigration and border security issues and the retro-feeling COVID vaccine item – will intentionally remind Republicans that there are plenty of things that unite the mostly extreme-right activists who are most fired up about vouchers (and the injustices meted out to Attorney General Paxton) and the less activated Republican voters (and elected officials, for that matter) who are less attentive to, let alone motivated by, either vouchers or the Paxton imbroglio. 

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As another special session begins, GOP primary politics, not popular demand, keep vouchers on the agenda

| By: Joshua Blank and Jim Henson

After the repeated failures of the Republican legislature to pass voucher legislation throughout their two decades of total control of the state’s political process, the GOP leadership’s determination to focus efforts yet again on creating a voucher bill invites attention to one of the many challenges still facing the legislature in its latest attempt: it’s lack of importance to most voters. 

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Second Reading Podcast: Republican politics in the Texas Legislature as the third special session nears

| By: Texas Politics Project


Jim Henson and Joshua Blank look at the internecine politics of the Texas GOP and the calculations of the Big Three with the legislature set to begin the long-awaited "voucher session" – and consider the GOP meltdown in the US House as context for the looming session, set to begin Monday October 9. 

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Second Reading Podcast: One issue to bind them all

| By: Texas Politics Project

In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Joshua Blank talk about Texas Governor Greg Abbott's signal on Fox News that he would add border security to his impending call for another special session of the legislature.

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Amid divisions on Paxton and vouchers, border security remains the great Republican unifier in Texas

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

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."

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Polling vouchers: the choice of words can be taxing

| By: Joshua Blank and Jim Henson

As they struggle to claim the cloak of public approval for their respective causes, advocates both for and against voucher or voucher-like programs will resume a familiar pattern (at least to non-partisan pollsters) of praising or criticizing public opinion polling that either supports or undermines their efforts to claim public support. In doing so, both sides will heavily rely on the same argument when responding to survey results they don’t like, to the effect of: well, wouldn’t the results have been different if you had asked that question differently? Yes. The results would be different if you asked a different question – because it’s a different question.

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Second Reading Podcast: Digging into the Vote to Reinstate Ken Paxton

| By: Texas Politics Project

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.

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