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. 

Gov. Abbott will deliver the address from San Marcos, the second address in a row in which Gov. Abbott has opted to break with the tradition of delivering the speech at the Capitol. (The 2021 address, during the COVID 19 pandemic, was deilvered from a factory in Lockhart). Nexstar, who is again producing the statewide broadcast of the State of the State address, has provided a list of streaming and broadcast sites where the address may be seen live.

The Legislative Reference Library search engine helpfully provides links to past addresses – a search for "state of the state"  will bring up links to past speeches,  from J. Pinckney Henderson's first address in 1846 to Gov. Abbott's 2021 address.

University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll data on Gov. Abbott

Different cuts of job approval ratings from December 2022

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Approve strongly24%
Approve somewhat25%
Neither approve nor disapprove9%
Disapprove somewhat7%
Disapprove strongly34%
Don't know1%

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Approve strongly4%9%48%
Approve somewhat9%36%39%
Neither approve nor disapprove9%13%7%
Disapprove somewhat7%11%4%
Disapprove strongly71%28%2%
Don't know0%3%1%

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CategoryLean conservativeSomewhat conservativeExtremely conservative
Approve strongly18%46%60%
Approve somewhat52%40%30%
Neither approve nor disapprove16%4%4%
Disapprove somewhat12%4%2%
Disapprove strongly2%6%5%
Don't know0%0%0%

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Approve strongly30%7%18%
Approve somewhat29%17%22%
Neither approve nor disapprove6%15%11%
Disapprove somewhat6%10%6%
Disapprove strongly28%49%41%
Don't know1%1%1%

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Approve strongly16%23%34%
Approve somewhat22%26%28%
Neither approve nor disapprove12%9%6%
Disapprove somewhat7%7%6%
Disapprove strongly41%34%26%
Don't know2%1%0%

Gov. Abbott job approval trend

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PollApproveDisapproveNeither/Don't Know
November 201542%29%28%
February 201641%29%30%
June 201642%31%27%
October 201642%33%25%
February 201745%33%23%
June 201745%38%16%
October 201748%33%19%
February 201846%31%23%
June 201847%36%18%
October 201852%32%17%
February 201951%32%17%
June 201951%31%18%
October 201952%28%21%
February 202048%34%18%
April 202056%32%13%
June 202049%39%13%
October 202047%40%14%
February 202146%39%15%
March 202145%43%11%
April 202143%45%13%
June 202144%44%11%
August 202141%50%9%
October 202143%48%10%
February 202244%42%15%
April 202247%41%13%
June 202243%46%12%
August 202246%44%10%
October 202247%44%9%
December 202249%41%8%
February 202346%43%12%
April 202346%41%12%
June 202347%42%12%
August 202345%45%10%
October 202349%40%10%

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PollApproveDisapproveNeither/Don't Know
November 201570%8%23%
February 201669%8%23%
June 201673%7%21%
October 201675%5%21%
February 201780%5%15%
June 201783%8%10%
October 201779%5%14%
February 201881%5%14%
June 201880%7%14%
October 201889%4%8%
February 201983%6%10%
June 201984%4%12%
October 201979%6%15%
February 202084%8%12%
April 202088%6%7%
June 202083%7%9%
October 202081%13%7%
February 202179%10%11%
March 202179%13%8%
April 202177%13%10%
June 202177%12%11%
August 202173%18%9%
October 202179%15%6%
February 202274%14%12%
April 202280%10%11%
June 202278%11%12%
August 202280%12%8%
October 202286%8%6%
December 202287%6%8%
February 202383%7%10%
April 202379%9%12%
June 202381%10%8%
August 202381%11%8%
October 202379%10%11%

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PollApproveDisapproveNeither/Don't Know
November 201513%56%23%
February 201618%50%33%
June 201612%60%27%
October 201612%62%26%
February 201713%61%27%
June 20179%70%20%
October 201714%64%21%
February 201812%59%29%
June 201814%67%18%
October 201812%67%21%
February 201916%63%22%
June 201918%62%21%
October 201924%51%24%
February 202013%64%24%
April 202024%59%16%
June 202013%74%13%
October 202013%70%17%
February 202113%73%14%
March 202111%81%8%
April 20217%83%9%
June 20218%82%9%
August 20216%90%4%
October 20215%85%9%
February 202214%75%12%
April 202212%79%9%
June 20226%86%7%
August 202211%84%6%
October 20229%81%9%
December 202213%78%9%
February 202314%78%8%
April 202319%74%8%
June 202314%76%10%
August 202313%78%9%
October 202315%77%8%

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PollApproveDisapproveNeither/Don't Know
November 201539%28%44%
February 201641%30%29%
June 201634%39%27%
October 201631%39%29%
February 201723%48%29%
June 201733%44%24%
October 201745%30%26%
February 201838%20%41%
June 201839%34%26%
October 201841%32%27%
February 201954%23%23%
June 201942%29%30%
October 201943%26%31%
February 202038%30%31%
April 202034%41%25%
June 202041%36%23%
October 202033%39%29%
February 202133%33%34%
March 202134%36%30%
April 202134%37%28%
June 202141%44%15%
August 202130%52%18%
October 202127%57%16%
February 202242%43%16%
April 202233%41%26%
June 202227%55%19%
August 202237%43%19%
October 202240%48%12%
December 202245%39%16%
February 202338%46%15%
April 202325%54%21%
June 202339%40%21%
August 202331%53%15%
October 202334%53%13%

Gov. Abbott issue approvals prior to 2022 election (October 2022 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll)

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Immigration & border security46%
The coronavirus46%
The economy45%
Crime & public safety44%
Public education40%
Gun violence40%
Abortion access37%
Health care37%
Inflation & prices36%
The electric grid34%
Climate change30%

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Immigration & border security10%42%83%
The coronavirus14%30%77%
The economy12%34%78%
Crime & public safety10%31%79%
Public education11%31%69%
Gun violence10%25%69%
Abortion access8%27%65%
Health care10%19%62%
Inflation & prices8%19%64%
The electric grid10%18%61%
Climate change10%15%51%

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CategoryLean conservativeSomewhat conservativeExtremely conservative
Immigration & border security69%86%85%
The coronavirus68%81%79%
The economy69%83%86%
Crime & public safety61%85%85%
Public education53%69%79%
Gun violence50%71%77%
Abortion access41%71%81%
Health care49%62%72%
Inflation & prices50%65%72%
The electric grid44%64%68%
Climate change37%52%61%

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CategoryLean conservativeSomewhat conservativeExtremely conservative
Immigration & border security69%86%85%
The coronavirus68%81%79%
The economy69%83%86%
Crime & public safety61%85%85%
Public education53%69%79%
Gun violence50%71%77%
Abortion access41%71%81%
Health care49%62%72%
Inflation & prices50%65%72%
The electric grid44%64%68%
Climate change37%52%61%

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Immigration & border security58%19%37%
The coronavirus55%26%36%
The economy56%27%34%
Crime & public safety54%22%33%
Public education49%26%28%
Gun violence49%21%28%
Abortion access43%24%30%
Health care44%25%28%
Inflation & prices43%20%27%
The electric grid40%22%27%
Climate change36%20%23%

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Immigration & border security56%38%
The coronavirus52%39%
The economy56%36%
Crime & public safety53%36%
Public education49%31%
Gun violence47%33%
Abortion access44%30%
Health care43%31%
Inflation & prices43%29%
The electric grid42%28%
Climate change38%24%

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Immigration & border security33%49%61%
The coronavirus36%48%58%
The economy33%49%58%
Crime & public safety31%48%54%
Public education31%40%52%
Gun violence31%41%48%
Abortion access29%37%51%
Health care30%36%48%
Inflation & prices28%36%47%
The electric grid29%35%45%
Climate change27%31%36%

About the Second Reading podcast. The podcast has been produced intermittently by Jim Henson for the Texas Politics Project, with production support from UT's Liberal Arts Development Studio, since 2016. You can find past episodes and subscribe to the Second Reading podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher.


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