Blog

Paxton and Trump: One of these is not like the other

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

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.

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Second Reading Podcast: Week One of the Paxton Trial + new UT/TxPP Polling on Border Security, Public Education

| By: Texas Politics Project

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.

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Latest UT/Texas Politics Project Poll finds Texas Republicans’ support for Donald Trump unwavering amidst multiple indictments

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

As the 2024 race for the Republican nomination begins to take shape, the August 2023 University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds Texas Republicans’ continued support for former president Donald Trump evident in several results ranging from general assessments to attitudes toward the criminal indictments against him, the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, and beliefs about the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol led by supporters of the former president.

The poll also contained questions about attitudes in major issues on the public agenda in Texas, including public education, immigration and border policy, business engagement of public policy issues, and expectations about property tax rates. It also asked about Texans’ perceptions of discrimination in the U.S., their attention to major issues recently in the news media, and their assessment of various sources of potential threats to the United States. Selected results are presented below – more detailed discussion of results will follow in the coming weeks.

 

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Job approval trends for Texas statewide incumbents and other trend data from the Texas Politics Project poll data archive (August 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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A closer look at the public opinion context for Ken Paxton’s trial in the Texas Senate

| By: Jim Henson

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.

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New UT/Texas Politics Project Poll: Texans' views of Ken Paxton as his trial nears

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

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.

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Keywords: Impeachment, Ken Paxton

Second Reading Podcast: Unpacking the notion of an informed electorate in the context of the Paxton impeachment trial

| By: Texas Politics Project

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.

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Keywords: Impeachment, Ken Paxton

Is all forgiven? Texas public opinion and the “prior term doctrine” in Ken Paxton's impeachment trial

| By: Jim Henson and Joshua Blank

Setting aside for the moment the logic and legalisms of both the Paxton legal team’s invocation of the prior-term doctrine and the House managers’ response, public opinion polling suggests that relatively small shares of Texas voters have heard “a lot” about Paxton’s legal problems, including in the run-up to the 2022 election. 

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Second Reading Podcast: Why Abbott is buoyed by his border policies + Texas GOP responses to the latest Trump indictment

| By: Texas Politics Project

In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank discuss the politics of Greg Abbott’s latest testing of the boundaries of support for his border policies, and look at the impact in Texas, or lack thereof, of the latest Trump indictments.

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Second Reading Podcast: A conversation with The Dallas Morning News' Lauren McGaughy about the Paxton trial

| By: Texas Politics Project

In a new Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson talks with The Dallas Morning News' Lauren McGaughy about the latest in the impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton.

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