Texans’ views of Ken Paxton in UT/Texas Politics Project polling as the Texas Attorney General faces impeachment

With the Texas House of Representatives poised to consider 20 articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton, we’ve pulled several looks at voters’ views of the Attorney General from the Texas Politics Project archives.

In our most recent April 2023 UT/Texas Politics Project Poll, job approval ratings of Paxton fell in the range within which they have fluctuated for most of his tenure as attorney general. Overall, voters were slightly more likely to approve of Paxton’s job performance than disapprove in the most recent poll, with 39% approving of the attorney general’s job performance, 35% disapproving, and 26% unable to offer a positive or negative evaluation. Among Republicans, 59% expressed approval in the latest poll, while only 11% disapproved; among Democrats, only 17% expressed approval, with 62% disapproving — however, this result represented Ken Paxton’s best overall evaluations among Democratic voters in the time series.

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categoryTotal
Approve strongly17%
Approve somewhat22%
Neither approve nor disapprove15%
Disapprove somewhat7%
Disapprove strongly28%
Don't know11%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Approve strongly4%10%31%
Approve somewhat13%9%34%
Neither approve nor disapprove11%16%16%
Disapprove somewhat5%10%7%
Disapprove strongly57%34%6%
Don't know10%22%7%

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CategoryLean RepublicanNot very strong RepublicanStrong Republican
Approve strongly27%14%38%
Approve somewhat32%37%34%
Neither approve nor disapprove20%17%13%
Disapprove somewhat9%9%5%
Disapprove strongly7%11%3%
Don't know4%12%7%

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CategoryLean conservativeSomewhat conservativeExtremely conservative
Approve strongly9%29%45%
Approve somewhat35%33%29%
Neither approve nor disapprove22%17%12%
Disapprove somewhat11%6%3%
Disapprove strongly15%6%3%
Don't know7%10%8%

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CategoryThe Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word.The Bible is the word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, word for word.The Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God.Don't know.
Approve strongly23%19%4%11%
Approve somewhat31%23%8%9%
Neither approve nor disapprove19%16%8%13%
Disapprove somewhat6%7%8%7%
Disapprove strongly12%25%64%29%
Don't know10%10%9%31%

Overall, evaluations of Paxton have been quite consistent over 12 survey items assessing the Attorney General’s job performance between April 2021 and April 2023. Between 32% and 41% of voters have expressed approval of Paxton’s job performance over the time period, while between 35% and 39% disapprove, with notable, durable differences among partisans as well.

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categoryApproveDisapproveDon't know
Apr. 202132%36%31%
June 202133%36%32%
Aug. 202135%38%28%
Oct. 202135%37%28%
Feb. 202232%35%33%
Apr. 202234%36%30%
June 202234%39%27%
Aug. 202237%38%25%
Oct. 202236%39%26%
Dec. 202241%37%21%
Feb. 202335%38%26%
Apr. 202339%35%26%
June 202330%41%28%
Aug. 202327%46%28%
Oct. 202332%42%25%
Dec. 202335%38%26%
Feb. 202441%37%22%
Apr. 202441%35%24%

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Q8DApproveDisapproveDon't know
Apr. 202159%11%30%
June 202158%10%32%
Aug. 202161%11%28%
Oct. 202165%12%23%
Feb. 202255%13%31%
Apr. 202262%8%30%
June 202260%15%25%
Aug. 202266%13%22%
Oct. 202265%12%24%
Dec. 202273%7%19%
Feb. 202365%9%27%
Apr. 202365%13%23%
June 202351%19%30%
Aug. 202346%23%31%
Oct. 202350%20%30%
Dec. 202358%15%28%
Feb. 202461%16%23%
Apr. 202461%14%25%

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Q8DApproveDisapproveDon't know
Apr. 20215%68%27%
June 20217%66%27%
Aug. 20215%72%23%
Oct. 20213%68%29%
Feb. 202210%61%29%
Apr. 20226%69%25%
June 20225%73%21%
Aug. 20229%71%20%
Oct. 20226%70%23%
Dec. 202211%70%18%
Feb. 202312%71%15%
Apr. 202317%62%21%
June 202310%69%20%
Aug. 202312%71%19%
Oct. 202312%70%18%
Dec. 202313%68%18%
Feb. 202424%60%16%
Apr. 202422%59%18%

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Q8DApproveDisapproveDon't know
Apr. 202123%26%52%
June 202124%33%43%
Aug. 202132%37%31%
Oct. 202126%36%38%
Feb. 202222%38%41%
Apr. 202221%36%44%
June 202223%37%40%
Aug. 202231%36%34%
Oct. 202231%35%33%
Dec. 202234%43%23%
Feb. 202325%31%43%
Apr. 202319%44%38%
June 202321%40%38%
Aug. 202321%51%27%
Oct. 202320%53%26%
Dec. 202328%45%27%
Feb. 202426%43%31%
Apr. 202428%35%37%

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Q8DApproveDisapproveDon't know
Apr. 202160%12%27%
June 202159%12%29%
Aug. 202162%12%27%
Oct. 202166%10%23%
Feb. 202256%15%29%
Apr. 202262%10%27%
June 202259%16%25%
Aug. 202265%14%21%
Oct. 202264%12%24%
Dec. 202270%11%18%
Feb. 202363%10%26%
Apr. 202363%13%24%
June 202350%23%27%
Aug. 202346%22%32%
Oct. 202354%20%26%
Dec. 202361%16%24%
Feb. 202463%16%22%
Apr. 202462%13%25%

While the suspicion that Paxton’s persistent legal jeopardy and other controversies might damage his electoral prospects has hovered over his last two reelection campaigns, the slowly increasing awareness of Paxton’s legal problems between 2016 and 2022 (here and here) never resulted in his defeat in either a primary or a general election (though it did spur a number of challengers in the 2022 GOP primary).

Ken Paxton Election Margins
Year Paxton Democratic Opponent Win Margin
2022 53.42% 43.66% +9.76
2018 50.57% 47.01% +3.56
2014 53.82% 38.02% +15.80

 

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categoryTotal
A lot20%
Some37%
Not very much26%
Nothing at all16%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
A lot30%12%14%
Some37%31%41%
Not very much21%29%31%
Nothing at all13%27%15%

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CategoryLean conservativeSomewhat conservativeExtremely conservative
A lot22%13%10%
Some35%39%42%
Not very much26%33%32%
Nothing at all17%15%16%

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CategoryLean liberalSomewhat liberalExtremely liberal
A lot21%29%40%
Some48%39%27%
Not very much16%23%19%
Nothing at all16%10%14%

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CategoryUrbanSuburbanRural
A lot24%20%15%
Some35%39%37%
Not very much23%28%27%
Nothing at all18%13%20%

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CategoryThe Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word.The Bible is the word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, word for word.The Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God.Don't know.
A lot20%18%27%13%
Some36%37%40%35%
Not very much30%30%17%24%
Nothing at all15%15%16%28%

 

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