Second Reading Podcast: Texans' views of Donald Trump as the ex-president makes a campaign stop in Waco
In the latest Second Reading podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank look at Texans' views of Donald Trump in Texas Politics Project polling in advance of a campaign stop in Waco by the ex-president this weekend.
Results from the February 2023 University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll provides evidence of how the pandemic, the wide propagation of the trope of “woke education,” and the patterns in the state’s rapid population growth have converged to sharpen the terms of long-fought battles, while also shifting the terrain upon which these battles are being fought. The current surge in rhetoric and political action based on notions like “parental rights” and the prevalence of “woke education” have provided potential means for overcoming the resistance of a sizable faction of Republican legislators and the demonstrated ambivalence of voters toward state support for private education that “school choice” advocates have historically been unable to overcome in the legislature.
With the Texas Legislature debating what should be done with the state's unprecented budget surplus, the February 2023 University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll included a large array of questions on government spending and policy priorities similar to a battery run at the beginning of the prior session. As we described last time, "The goal of the large battery on spending in our early session poll is to check in on Texans’ attitudes toward state spending in broad issue areas. It doesn’t assume the existence of specific spending proposals nor of well-informed or developed attitudes on the part of the respondents. Rather, these items provide something of a heat check on Texans’ dispositions toward areas of public policy that are contenders for finite resources in the process."
Texans feeling the pain of property taxes, but most voters have higher priorities for the 88th Legislature
As Texas elected officials debate how to spend a historic budget surplus, the latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll suggests that state leaders’ persistent focus on reducing property tax bills finds a broadly receptive audience in the Texas electorate, even though perennial problems such as border security, school safety, and mental health loom larger in the minds of Texas voters.
Job approval trends for Texas statewide incumbents and other trend data from the Texas Politics Project poll data archive (February 2023 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll update)
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.
While there is plenty of subtext to Gov. Greg Abbott’s state of the state address, the topline takeaways are the items designated as emergencies by the governor, qualifying them for consideration prior to the constitutional prohibition on passing bills during the first 60 days of the legislative session. We posted a lot of public opinion data as broad context going into the governor’s speech, but the unveiling of the much-anticipated emergency items enables a closer look at the public opinion context of the governor’s priorities in his efforts to shape the legislative agenda.
Greg Abbott will deliver the fifth State of the State address from San Marcos Thursday, February 16th, presenting the opportunity to direct public attention to his agenda and to send signals to the Legislature and other state leaders about his legislative priorities. The strongest indication of those priorities will be the subjects he designates as emergency items, which would exempt legislation so designated from the constitutional provision that prohibits both houses from passing bills during the first 60 days of the regular session.
Second Reading Podcast: A look at Gov. Abbott's political position ahead of his State of the State address
In the latest Second Reading podcast, Jim Henson and Josh Blank look at Gov. Abbott's polling numbers and political positioning going into this weeks State of the State address.
Estranged Bedfellows? Polling reveals evidence of trouble in the long marriage between business and the Texas GOP
The GOP pushback against business remains one of the underappreciated themes of the 87th Texas Legislature – and one of the most important subplots of the 88th as the legislature shifts into higher gear. From the blacklisting of companies branded with the scarlet letters E-S-G from doing business with the state to the slow-motion demise of Texas's Chapter 313 business incentive program, the tide of conservative legislation aimed at shaping business decisions has upended assumptions about the traditional “pro-business” orientation of Republican governance in the state. Data from recent University of Texas/Texas Politics Project polling suggest that elected Republicans’ efforts to mobilize partisan support with rhetoric and policies that punish business finds support among some Republican voters eager jump on the anti-“woke” dogpile in the short run. But it also activates tensions in the governing GOP coalition.
President Joe Biden is widely expected to use his third State of the Union address to tout legislative achievements in the first two years of his presidency while pointng to historically low unemployment – even as the Federal Reserve continues its efforts to wring price inflation out of an economy still on an uncertain trajectory – and political terrain that is just as uncertain. While the 2022 election proved to be a relative success for Biden compared to the usual (and widely predicted) first mid-term losses experienced by the party of incumbent presidents, Texas voters' assessment of him reflect the political landscape in a state which stayed firmly in Republican hands at the state level in 2022 after voting for loser Donald Trump by a margin of 52.1% to Biden's 46.5% in 2020.