A new University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll finds 15% of Texans expressing support for a complete ban on abortion access in polling conducted primarily in the week prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement of its landmark opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. While 37% of Texas voters say that they support "trigger law" that would ban abortion in most cases in Texas in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, no more than 36% would foreclose all access to legal abortion across a range of circumstances.
The poll surveyed 1200 Texas registered voters representative of the demographic characteristics of the state’s population from June 16-24, 2022, and is the 50th in a series of public polls initiated in 2008 as part of the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin. Detailed methological information and data files can be found in the Texas Politics Project polling archive.
The survey found Texans expressing overwhelmingly negative views of the economy: 53% said that their personal economic situation is worse than a year ago; 58% said the Texas economy is worse than a year ago; and 73% said the national economy is worse than it was a year ago. All three represented the highest negative assessments since the poll began tracking these attitudes. With elections for statewide offices and the Texas legislature just over four months away, 59% said the state was on the wrong track — the largest share of negative responses in the poll’s history.
Texans’ widespread negative economic assessments were likely influenced by the impact of rising prices. Asked about the impact of price increases on their household’s current financial situation, 68% reported that increases in the cost of gas were having a major impact, while 59% said the same of increases in the cost of food. In response to another question, inflation, gas prices, or the economy were cited as the most important problem facing the country by 41% of poll respondents.
The poll was conducted in the aftermath of the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which claimed the lives of 19 students and 2 teachers, and received heavy attention in the news media during the period in which the poll was conducted. Despite this increase in attention and the recency of the shooting, the poll revealed no major shifts in attitudes related to guns after the Uvalde killings. Majorities of Texans expressed support for gun control measures in similar magnitudes to polling conducted prior to Uvalde: 78% supported expanded background checks on all gun purchases in the United States, including at gun shows and during private sales, while 16% opposed such changes. When asked about allowing courts “to require a person determined to be a risk to themselves or others to temporarily surrender guns in their possession,” commonly called a “red flag law,” 66% expressed support while 24% were opposed. Such laws are in effect in nineteen states and the District of Columbia, not including Texas.
Texans’ opinions about the causes of mass shootings illustrate the continuing partisan divide that have stalled most gun control discussions in Texas and the U.S. Half of Democrats polled said that current gun laws are the factor most to blame for mass shootings in the U.S., while the factors most frequently cited by Texas Republicans include the failure of the mental health system to identify dangerous individuals (25%) and unstable family situations (21%). By contrast, only 6% of Republicans cite gun laws as the most important factor in mass shootings.
In Texas’ high profile 2022 election, Republican candidates continued to lead in the most high-profile races. Incumbent Governor Greg Abbott leads Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke by 6 points among registered voters, 45% to 39%, with 3% choosing third party candidates and 13% either someone else or remain undecided.
|Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion||10%|
The races for Lt. Governor and Attorney General have so far generated less attention than the Governor’s race. In the rematch of the 2018 race for Lt. Governor, incumbent Republican Dan Patrick leads Democratic challenger Mike Collier 38% to 26%, with 11% preferring Libertarian Shanna Steel, and 31% either “someone else” or remaining undecided. Incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxon leads Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza 37% to 29%. In the generic congressional ballot, Republicans lead Democrats 46% to 41%, while in the generic ballot for Texas Legislature, the Republican also leads the Democrat 46% to 41%.
Texans’ assessment of political leaders also reflected voters' increasingly dark mood. Governor Greg Abbott slipped back into net negative approval territory after two consecutive polls in February and April found his job approval narrowly exceeding disapproval among Texas voters. Senator John Cornyn – widely credited in the press with playing a crucial role in gun safety legislation recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden – saw his job approval ratings drop significantly among all groups, including Republicans, among whom 34% expressed disapproval, twice the share disapproving in April polling (17%).
Use the linked list below to jump to results in specific areas with more exploration of key group attitudes and illustrative graphics of results in key areas covered by the poll.
Texans’ attitudes about abortion, measured on the eve of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, were consistent with more than a decade of public opinion polling in Texas. A majority of Texas voters continue to oppose a blanket ban on access to legal abortion, but also express a range of attitudes about the timing and circumstances under which those abortions should be legally accessible.
While 37% of voters expressed support for the state’s trigger law banning abortions in Texas in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling (24% strongly, 54% opposed), only 15% of Texans agreed that “abortion should never be permitted” on a seperate item. In a battery of questions assessing the circumstances and timeframe under which a woman might be permitted to access a legal abortion, no more than 36% supported foreclosing all access to abortion under any of the seven cirumstances tested. Only 8%, 13%, and 11% of Texas voters, respectively, would ban access to abortion in the cases of rape, incest, or if the woman’s health was seriously endangered.
|Never||Within the first 6 weeks of pregnancy||Within 12 weeks||Withing 24 weeks||Within 36 weeks||At any time during the pregnancy||Don't know||TOTAL SHARE IN SUPPORT OF ACCESS|
|The woman’s health is seriously endangered.||8%||20%||10%||7%||3%||42%||10%||82%|
|The woman became pregnant as a result of rape.||13%||23%||13%||10%||5%||29%||8%||80%|
|The woman became pregnant as a result of incest.||11%||23%||13%||10%||4%||28%||10%||78%|
|There is a strong chance of a serious birth defect.||19%||16%||11%||8%||5%||29%||12%||69%|
|The family has very low income and cannot afford any more children.||34%||12%||13%||9%||5%||18%||9%||57%|
|The woman is not married and does not want to marry.||36%||11%||12%||9%||5%||17%||11%||54%|
|The woman is married and does not want any more children.||36%||12%||11%||9%||4%||17%||9%||53%|
Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in Dobbs has attracted attention for his call to reconsider other rights associated with the substantive due process doctrine, including the privacy rights used as the foundation for the right to use contraception. The latest poll found overwhelming agreement that “women who want to avoid becoming pregnant should have access to birth control,” unchanged from November 2015 UT/Texas Tribune Polling results. There were no substantive differences in the views of partisans.
|Yes, should have access||88%|
|No, should not have access||4%|
|Don't know/No opinion||7%|
|No impact on safety||15%|
|Don't know/No opinion||9%|
A set of questions found Texans divided along traditional partisan lines in their perceptions of the causes of mass shootings and their underlying attitudes about the state of gun laws in Texas, but less neatly divided in their response to specific policy proposals related to guns. Divisions among Republicans toward background checks, red flag laws, and even raising the age to buy a weapon, contributed to large, overall majorities supportive of many long-discussed gun safety measures that have again arisen in public discussion in the wake of the Uvalde killings – albeit with very little prospect of being implemented in Texas.
The plurality of Texans, 43%, expressed the opinion that if more people carried guns, the U.S. would be less safe. While 77% of Democrats expressed the view that more guns would lead to less safety, the majority of Republicans, 57%, expressed the opposite opinion. At the same time, a majority of Texas voters, 52%, expressed the view that gun control laws should be made more strict — a consistent finding over 10 polling results going back to 2015. The majority of Democrats, 85%, want to see gun laws made stricter, while the plurality of Republicans, 46%, would like to see gun laws left alone.
|Left as they are now||28%|
|Don't know/No opinion||6%|
|Left as they are now||5%||27%||46%|
|Don't know/No opinion||4%||12%||5%|
Responses to mass shootings fall along traditional partisan lines, with the plurality of voters, 25%, including 50% of Democrats and only 6% of Republicans, saying that current gun laws are the factor most to blame for recent mass shootings. The next most cited factors after current gun laws included failures of the mental health system to identify dangerous individuals (20%; 13% of Democrats, 25% of Republicans) and unstable family situations (13%; 3% of Democrats, 21% of Republicans).
|Overall||Among Democrats||Among Republicans|
|Current gun laws||25%||50%||6%|
|Failure of the mental health system to identify dangerous individuals||20%||13%||25%|
|Unstable family situations||13%||3%||21%|
|Spread of extremist points of view on the internet||10%||15%||6%|
|Media attention given to perpetrators of mass shootings||8%||4%||13%|
|Insufficient security at public buildings including businesses and schools||7%||2%||11%|
|Inflammatory language from prominent political commentators||5%||5%||3%|
|Violence in movies, video games, music lyrics||5%||3%||8%|
|Don’t know/No opinion||6%||5%||4%|
At the same time, Texas voters express an openness to some commonly discussed gun safety proposals. The vast majority of Texans continue to support “criminal and mental health background checks on all gun purchases in the United States, including at gun shows and for private sales.” Seventy-eight percent support such a universal background check system, including 93% of Democrats and 66% of Republicans. Seventy percent expressed support for raising the age to legally purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, including 91% of Democrats and 56% of Republicans. While 66% expressed support for “allowing courts to require a person determined to be a risk to themselves or others to temporarily surrender guns in their possession,” including 89% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans (a plurality).
|Don't know/No opinion||6%|
|Don't know/No opinion||5%|
Other proposals also received majority support, including a ban on high capacity magazines (55%) and an assault weapons ban (54%), though each proposal received majority opposition among Republican voters amidst similarly high support among Democrats. The state’s permitless carry law continues to receive majority opposition, 54%.
|Don't know/No opinion||6%|
Questions probing Texas voters’ views of some of the major statewide races in 2022 found Republican candidates maintaining leads, but amidst signs of a more competitive election environment. Governor Greg Abbott, seeking his third term, finds himself with a 6-point lead over Beto O’Rourke among registered voters as of June polling, a slight decline from his 9-point lead in April polling (but before the inclusion of Libertarian and Green Party candidates).
In a rematch of the 2018 race, Lieutenant Governor Patrick holds a comfortable lead of 12-points over his Democratic challenger, Mike Collier, 38% to 26%, though 25% of voters admit to not having thought much about the race. Attorney General Ken Paxton holds an 8-point lead over his Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza, 37% to 29%, with 24% of voters not yet knowing enough to form an opinion.
|Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion||25%|
|Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion||24%|
The economy is occupying an increasing share of voters’ attention in the most recent survey. In June polling, 43% of Texans cited an economic concern as the most important problem facing the country, up from 35% in April, while 34% cited an economic concern as the most important problem facing the state, a rare instance in which immigration and border security don’t easily top the list of state concerns (immigration received 11%, border security 14%).
In a trifecta of historically bad results in the UT time series, 73% say that the national economy is worse than last year, 58% say that the Texas economy is worse than last year, and 53% say that they are worse off economically compared to last year — after recent years also registered historically poor economic evaluations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Inflation is clearly on voters’ minds, with 68% saying that the price of gas is having a major impact on their household finances and another 59% saying the same of food, with smaller though significant shares of Texans saying that the cost of these as well as utilities, housing, and healthcare are having either a major or minor impact on their finances.
These evaluations culminate in 76% of Texas voters saying that the country is on the wrong track, a sharp 10-point increase over April polling, and 59% saying that Texas is on the wrong track, up 8 points over April polling. Both results represent high marks in the time series going back to 2009.
|Poll||Right Direction||Wrong Track|
|Poll||Right Direction||Wrong Track|
With the survey conducted in the midst of the June public hearings of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, responses to a set of questions about the legitimacy of the 2020 election, the accuracy of elections, and the nature of the events on January 6th 2021 suggest that the hearings do not appear to have led to large changes of opinion, which continue to be primarily defined by partisanship.
A slight majority of Texas voters, 54%, think that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election, with 35% saying that he did not legitimately win, and 11% unsure — statistically unchanged from February 2022 polling. While 92% of Democrats think that Biden legitimately won the presidency, two-thirds of Republicans, 66%, express the belief that he did not — also unchanged from February polling.
In a result showing similar stability with February polling conducted before the public hearings, a majority of Texas voters, 54%, agreed that “protesters who entered the United States Capitol January 6th, 2021 were attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election,” while 36% disagreed. Eighty-eight percent of Democrats agreed that protesters were attempting to overturn the election, while 64% of Republicans disagreed.
|Don't know/No opinion||6%||16%||9%|
Nearly two-thirds of Texas voters, 64%, expect more political violence in the U.S. in the future, including 65% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans. This represents a significant increase over February polling, when 54% expected more political violence. At the same time, a majority of Texas voters, 56%, say that it is inappropriate for people to protest outside the homes of public officials. Likely a reflection of the nature and direction of the protests when the question was asked, the plurality of Democrats, 43%, said that it was appropriate (39% said inappropriate), while 72% of Republicans said that this kind of protest was inappropriate.
|More political violence||64%|
|Less political violence||8%|
|The same amount of political violence||17%|
|Don't know/No opinion||11%|
A majority of voters, 61%, say that the official results of U.S. elections are accurate, while 34% say that they are inaccurate. This is a slight improvement over October 2021 polling, in which 56% said U.S. election results were accurate while 38% said they were inaccurate. Both Republicans and political independents expressed slightly more confidence in elections than they had in prior polling. Texas voters expressed much more confidence in the accuracy of Texas elections, with 77% saying that these results are accurate and only 16% saying that they are inaccurate.
In a further reflection of Texans’ negative views of the economy and the trajectories of the state and nation, their assessments of the performances of elected officials also declined across the board compared to April polling. None of the figures the poll asked Texans to assess yielded a positive net approval score – that is, in all cases, the share expressing disapproval exceeded the share expressing approval.
The dismal job approval ratings of the U.S. Congress were also expressed in the results of an item assessing Texans’ trust in the three branches of the federal government, which the poll has assessed at least once a year since 2015. In the lastest results, more than a third, 37%, declined to name the branch they trusted most. Assessments of the three branches to some extent reflect the partisan control of each: The U.S. Supreme Court and the judicial branch was most trusted by more than half of Republicans (55%), while almost half of Democrats (47%) trusted the President and the executive branch most. Among independents, more than half, 57%, chose the “none of the above” option. Of those independents who elected to trust one branch above the others, 30% chose the Supreme Court and the judicial branch, while only 7% and 6% chose the executive or legislative branch, respectively. Congress, with Democrats currently holding slim, effective majorities in both houses, is an institution without a country: fewer than 10% of each partisan group trusted the legislative branch the most.
Asked to express how favorably they viewed a set of institutions in political and social life, only two of the groups provided were favorably rated by a clear majority of Texans – the military (61% favorable, 16% unfavorable) and the police (52% favorable, 28% unfavorable). Municipal and local governments received net-positive ratings (42% favorable, 29% unfavorable), as did public schools (40% favorable, 36% unfavorable). Texans assigned the lowest ratings to the federal government (19% favorable, 61% unfavorable) and the courts and criminal justice system (26% favorable, 48% unfavorable). Views of Texas state government in this context were essentially evenly distributed: 40% were favorable, 41% were unfavorable.
|The municipal or local government where you live||42%|
|The Texas state government||40%|
|The public schools||40%|
|The courts/criminal justice system||26%|
|The federal government||19%|
With Gov. Abbott running for re-election to a third term in a midterm election year widely viewed by partisans on both sides as a nationalized referendum on President Biden, the poll asked respondents to assess the approval of the Governor and the President on a substantially overlapping list of policy areas.
Gov. Abbott’s most positive approval ratings were in four areas in which roughly equal shares of Texans approved and disapproved of the job he was doing: the economy (39% approve, 38% disapprove), immigration and border security (43% / 42%), the COVID-19 pandemic (41% / 41%), and crime and public safety (40% / 41%). The governor earned his weakest ratings on climate change (28% approve, 41% disapprove), inflation and prices (27% / 42%), and the electric grid in Texas (31% approve and 52% disasapprove, a net approval of -21, his lowest). On abortion access, 36% approve while 46% disapprove – 41% strongly. The governor received his highest disapproval ratings from Republicans on the electric grid (26% disapprove) and abortion acess (17% disapprove).
|Immigration & border security||43%|
|Crime & public safety||40%|
|The electric grid||31%|
|Inflation & prices||27%|
In a similar set of assessments of President Biden’s performance in specific policy areas, none of his ratings were in net positive territory. As in previous polling, Texans rated the president least negatively on his handling of COVID-19 – 41% approve while 43% disapprove. Foreign policy was the only other policy area in which the President received positive marks from a third or more of voters – and he barely crossed the threshold on that subject, in which 34% approved and 49% disapproved. His lowest rating was on inflation and prices — 20% approved and 63% disapproved, including 30% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 91% of Republicans.
|Crime & public safety||28%|
|Immigration & border security||27%|
|Inflation & prices||20%|
June polling found attitudes toward COVID relatively unchanged from April polling. Overall, 24% continue to say that COVID is a significant crisis, driven largely by Democrats, among whom 41% see COVID as a continuing crisis compared to 11% of Republicans. The survey found similar consistency with recent polling when voters were asked about their level of concern about the spread of COVID in their community, with only 10% saying that they are extremely concerned, 17% saying very concerned, and 25% saying that they are only somewhat concerned.
Despite this, significant shares of Texans continue to engage in social distancing practices, though with smaller shares in successive polls: 60% are avoiding large groups, 42% continue to wear masks, and 56% say that they are getting a booster shot.
The recent death of more than 50 migrants in a sweltering tractor trailer and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling allowing the Biden administration to end the “remain in Mexico” policy have turned attention back to purposefully, high-visibility Texas policies meant to address immigration and border security. As the legislature and Gov. Abbott have continued to increase state spending for “Operation Lone Star” and other border security programs, a majority either think the state is spending “too little” (36%) or “about the right amount” (22%), while about a quarter (26%) say the state is spending “too much,” and 16% didn’t have an opinion. More than half of Democrats say the state is spending “too much” (53%), while a slightly larger share of Republicans say “too little” (58%). All of these shares are within the range of responses in five previous instances since February 2021 in which the question was previously asked.
|About the right amount||22%|
|Don't know/No opinion||16%|
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine drags into its fifth month, the poll showed tentative signs that the early wave of support for U.S. efforts to aid Ukrainian resistance to Russia may have crested. The poll asked whether “the U.S. is doing too much, too little, or about the right amount in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine?” The share who responded “too much” increased from 15% in April to 28% in June, while the share that said “too little” decreased from 39% to 27% in the same period. While two polls do not constitute a trend, these are significant changes in the space of two months on an issue in which many Americans are still forming opinions.
|Don't know/No opinion||21%|
The poll also repeated a question designed to assess Texans’ belief in climate change (“Do you think climate change is happening, do you think climate change is not happening, or aren't you sure?”). A majority of Texans, 64%, believe climate change is happening, while 20% think it’s not and 16% are unsure. Belief in climate change is most prominent among Democrats (90%) and the youngest age cohort (82% of 18-29 year olds).
|Climate change is happening||64%|
|Climate change is not happening||20%|
|Not sure if climate change is happening||16%|
|Climate change is happening||82%||67%||59%||57%|
|Climate change is not happening||10%||17%||22%||25%|
|Not sure if climate change is happening||8%||16%||19%||17%|