Public Opinion and Gov. Abbott's State of the State Address

In his much-anticipated state of the state address before the legislature, Governor Abbott declared four emergency items. At the top of the list, as widely expected, he called the Legislature to work swiftly and comprehensively on addressing problems in child protective services and foster care. “Do it right!,” he exhorted them shortly before revealing it as his top emergency item. The Governor also declared banning Sanctuary cities, ethics reform, and a measure calling for a Convention of the states to consider constitutional amendments – one of his pet projects.

As is traditionally the case, the speech also included a shopping list of political declarations and policy positions on a wide range of subjects. Abbott called for measures to address the sexual assault of students by teachers, to classify violence against police as a hate crime, and criminalizing “the sale or donation of baby body parts.” He also defended the Texas Enterprise Fund, and in his only moment of direct criticism of the legislature, noted that both chambers’ budgets didn’t provide for sufficient accountability in pre-k funding. Other notable features of the speech included declaring a hiring freeze at all state agencies, calling for the elimination of the franchise tax, and expressing confidence that the budget could be balanced without using the rainy day fund. Abbott seemed to take both sides in the maneuvering between the House and the Senate on restructuring the state’s school finance system and creating a voucher system:  he called both for action on school finance and lauded school choice, though without mentioning any specifics on the latter.

Below, find graphics for toplines and relevant crosstabs on many of the topics touched on in the Governor’s address, and here is a link to the Governor's just released budget proposal. We'll have more to write in drilling deeper into these issues in later posts. 

Jump to: The General Context, The Emergency Items, The Other Themes. Full cross-tabs for all of the items can be accessed by clicking on the heading above the graphics.

The General Context

Governor Abbott's Job Approval Numbers:

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Approve strongly21%
Approve somewhat21%
Neither approve nor disapprove17%
Disapprove somewhat10%
Disapprove strongly23%
Don't know8%

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Approve strongly1%10%42%
Approve somewhat11%21%33%
Neither approve nor disapprove18%21%14%
Disapprove somewhat16%13%3%
Disapprove strongly46%26%2%
Don't know8%8%7%

Direction of Texas:

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Right direction42%
Wrong track40%
Don't know17%

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Right direction26%26%61%
Wrong track58%49%23%
Don't know16%25%16%

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Right direction45%28%42%
Wrong track38%50%40%
Don't know17%21%18%

Personal Economic Conditions:

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A lot better off5%
Somewhat better off22%
About the same44%
Somewhat worse off19%
A lot worse off8%
Don't know2%

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A lot better off4%10%5%
Somewhat better off18%37%25%
About the same44%37%47%
Somewhat worse off24%11%10%
A lot worse off9%4%9%
Don't know1%1%3%

The Emergency Items

Child Protective Services (herehere):

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A lot12%
Not very much30%
Nothing at all25%

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Don't know enough to have an opinion43%

Sanctuary Cities:

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Approve of sanctuary cities21%
Disapprove of sanctuary cities59%
Don't know/No opinion21%

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Approve of sanctuary cities36%14%6%
Disapprove of sanctuary cities34%62%87%
Don't know/No opinion30%24%8%

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categoryDemocratRepublicanTea Party
Approve of sanctuary cities40%9%7%
Disapprove of sanctuary cities33%82%91%
Don't know/No opinion27%9%2%

Ethics Reform:

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Such a law is appropriate because it allows people to judge potential conflicts of interest58%
Such a law is an invasion of privacy that goes too far23%
Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion20%

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Such a law is appropriate because it allows people to judge potential conflicts of interest65%48%52%
Such a law is an invasion of privacy that goes too far17%28%28%
Haven't thought about it enough to have an opinion18%24%20%

Constitutional Revision:

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Held up well59%
Hold a new constitutional convention25%
Don't know/No opinion17%

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Held up well59%43%72%
Hold a new constitutional convention29%30%18%
Don't know/No opinion12%27%9%

The Other Themes

Immigration/Border Security:

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Border security14%
Political corruption/leadership8%
The economy6%

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Border security3%13%25%
Political corruption/leadership16%7%1%
The economy6%8%5%

Hate Crime for Attacks on Police Officers:

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Very favorable27%
Somewhat favorable30%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable19%
Somewhat unfavorable13%
Very unfavorable10%
Don't know/no opinion1%

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Very favorable14%18%40%
Somewhat favorable26%33%33%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable23%21%14%
Somewhat unfavorable19%10%9%
Very unfavorable16%16%3%
Don't know/no opinion1%2%0%

Fetal Remains:

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Don't know8%3%3%

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Very favorable36%25%6%
Somewhat favorable26%19%7%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable19%14%10%
Somewhat unfavorable8%6%12%
Very unfavorable6%26%63%
Don't know/no opinion5%10%2%


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Strongly support34%
Somewhat support28%
Somewhat oppose16%
Strongly oppose14%
Don't know8%

Public Education, Vouchers, School Choice:

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Increasing the pay of public school teachers66%
Increasing opportunities for online learning66%
Reducing the number of standardized tests students must take63%
Allowing more localized control over curriculum and standards62%
Increasing funding for the public school system61%
Making it easier for charter schools to open and operate 58%
Expanding state-funded, pre-kindergarten programs54%
Creating a school voucher program49%

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Increasing the pay of public school teachers81%64%56%
Increasing opportunities for online learning69%68%65%
Reducing the number of standardized tests students must take69%51%61%
Allowing more localized control over curriculum and standards48%52%78%
Increasing funding for the public school system85%57%44%
Making it easier for charter schools to open and operate 44%51%71%
Expanding state-funded, pre-kindergarten programs78%56%34%
Creating a school voucher program35%40%64%


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Property tax dissatisfaction55%
Motor fuels tax dissatisfaction40%
Sales tax dissatisfaction34%
Sin taxes dissatisfaction34%
Business margins tax dissatisfaction32%

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Property tax dissatisfaction48%49%61%
Motor fuels tax dissatisfaction36%36%43%
Sales tax dissatisfaction31%36%35%
Sin taxes dissatisfaction28%40%35%
Business margins tax dissatisfaction30%29%32%