Texans' views of Governor Greg Abbott and his handling of COVID-19 as Texas contemplates "opening up"

The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll focused on attitudes toward the COVID-19 pandemic and the responses to it, and lands amidst widespread speculation about Governor Greg Abbott’s promised updates on modifications to the statewide stay-at-home orders he issued less than a month ago on April 2. That speculation is intense among Texans subject to it, but is also being anticipated at the national level given Texas’ role as a conservative policy bellwether as well as the criticism of other state’s seemingly premature loosening of their own stay at home measures (see Georgia). 

With Abbott in the spotlight in the state and the nation Monday, we’ve gathered several results focused on attitudes toward the governor and the policies implemented in Texas by both Abbott and localities  — and presumably subject to change. We recently wrote about the intersection between Abbott’s management of politics and governance in enacting his stay-at-home orders with historical UT/TT polling data. The most recent results illuminate the public opinion context of Abbott’s early decision-making, and the personal and political experiences likely to shape responses to the pace of the relaxing of those policies he is expected to roll out this week. We’ll return to a more detailed incorporation of how these results connect to Abbott’s announcement after we know more about the path he proposes for the state. For now, the results below demonstrate the public opinion landscape Abbott is navigating as we all wait to see what path the Governor will chart forTexas in the next, still dangerous phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

Overall job approval trend (link)

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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%

Overall job approval (link)

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categoryTotal
Approve strongly31%
Approve somewhat25%
Neither approve nor disapprove9%
Disapprove somewhat14%
Disapprove strongly18%
Don't know4%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Approve strongly7%16%54%
Approve somewhat17%18%34%
Neither approve nor disapprove13%13%4%
Disapprove somewhat24%19%4%
Disapprove strongly35%22%2%
Don't know3%12%3%

Coronavirus job approval (link)

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categoryTotal
Approve strongly31%
Approve somewhat25%
Neither approve nor disapprove9%
Disapprove somewhat13%
Disapprove strongly16%
Don't know5%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Approve strongly8%19%55%
Approve somewhat22%13%31%
Neither approve nor disapprove12%19%4%
Disapprove somewhat22%14%5%
Disapprove strongly29%24%2%
Don't know6%11%3%

Economy job approval (link)

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categoryTotal
Approve strongly31%
Approve somewhat23%
Neither approve nor disapprove15%
Disapprove somewhat11%
Disapprove strongly14%
Don't know7%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Approve strongly5%16%57%
Approve somewhat18%14%29%
Neither approve nor disapprove21%25%7%
Disapprove somewhat20%13%2%
Disapprove strongly26%20%2%
Don't know9%12%4%

Trust in Governor Abbott to give accurate information about the Coronavirus (link)

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categoryTotal
Trust58%
Don't trust31%
Don't know/Unfamiliar11%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Trust32%35%85%
Don't trust56%41%8%
Don't know/Unfamiliar13%24%7%

Bigger threat to the country: Ending stay-at-home too soon, or staying at home too long (link)

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categoryTotal
Keeping people at home for too long in response to the coronavirus/COVID-1934%
Not keeping people at home long enough in response to the coronavirus/COVID-1955%
Don't know/No opinion11%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Keeping people at home for too long in response to the coronavirus/COVID-1911%24%55%
Not keeping people at home long enough in response to the coronavirus/COVID-1983%54%32%
Don't know/No opinion6%22%13%

When will Coronavirus be contained? (link)

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categoryTotal
It is already9%
In the next few weeks21%
In the next few months41%
In the next year17%
A year or more9%
Never2%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
It is already5%10%12%
In the next few weeks7%21%35%
In the next few months46%41%38%
In the next year28%12%9%
A year or more13%11%5%
Never2%5%1%

Attitudes on Texas COVID-19/Coronavirus policies 

Requiring Texans to stay at home except for essential activities (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor77%
Oppose16%
Don't know/No opinion7%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor90%64%69%
Oppose5%19%25%
Don't know/No opinion5%17%6%

Closing public schools (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor83%
Oppose10%
Don't know/No opinion6%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor94%71%78%
Oppose3%10%16%
Don't know/No opinion3%19%6%

Requiring travelers from other cities and/or states with outbreaks to self-quarantine if they come to Texas (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor83%
Oppose8%
Don't know/No opinion10%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor86%64%85%
Oppose6%12%8%
Don't know/No opinion9%23%7%

Restricting in-person religious services of more than 10 people (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor74%
Oppose17%
Don't know/No opinion9%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor91%61%62%
Oppose4%16%29%
Don't know/No opinion5%23%10%

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CategoryExtremely importantSomewhat importantNot very importantNot at all important
Favor69%70%83%86%
Oppose21%19%9%8%
Don't know/No opinion10%11%7%6%

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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.
Favor64%74%89%62%
Oppose26%17%5%16%
Don't know/No opinion10%9%6%22%

Suspending the operation of businesses determined to be 'non-essential' (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor66%
Oppose25%
Don't know/No opinion9%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor84%60%53%
Oppose11%24%37%
Don't know/No opinion6%17%10%

Closing state parks (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor68%
Oppose24%
Don't know/No opinion8%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor85%62%55%
Oppose9%21%38%
Don't know/No opinion5%16%8%

Establishing emergency hospital facilities (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor85%
Oppose7%
Don't know/No opinion8%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor93%69%83%
Oppose4%8%9%
Don't know/No opinion3%22%8%

Postponing May 2020 elections (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor55%
Oppose27%
Don't know/No opinion18%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor65%61%47%
Oppose18%18%37%
Don't know/No opinion17%21%16%

Prohibiting health care providers from providing abortion services (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor48%
Oppose35%
Don't know/No opinion17%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor21%40%74%
Oppose60%37%12%
Don't know/No opinion19%23%14%

Prohibiting the size of gatherings to 10 people or less (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor80%
Oppose14%
Don't know/No opinion6%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor91%64%74%
Oppose5%17%21%
Don't know/No opinion3%19%5%

Releasing some non-violent offenders awaiting trial in county jails (link)

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categoryTotal
Favor44%
Oppose43%
Don't know/No opinion13%

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CategoryDemocratIndependentRepublican
Favor66%40%25%
Oppose20%30%66%
Don't know/No opinion13%30%9%