AUSTIN, Texas — Texans are growing to believe the state's explosive population growth is detrimental to the Lone Star State rather than beneficial.
According to a new University of Texas at Austin/Texas Politics Project poll, a majority of Texas voters see the state's continued growth negatively or with uncertainty.
Texas voters reported being aware of the state's population by a wide margin, but only 34% of those surveyed said the growth was good for the state. Meanwhile, 40% of those surveyed said the growth has been bad and 27% didn't offer a positive or negative opinion.
According to a release from UT, skepticism about the state's growth is part of a larger national assessment. U.S. economic problems are reaching Texas, with 43% of voters saying their family's economic situation is worse compared to last year. While most Texans have noticed rising prices, 55% reported those increases have had a major impact on their household finances.
Those issues, the poll reports, go into finding that 51% of Texans said the state is on the wrong track and 66% said the country is headed in the same direction.
“Despite the frequent boosterism among state leaders about people and businesses moving to Texas, there are signs that many Texans now perceive downsides to that growth,” said James Henson, executive director of UT Austin’s Texas Politics Project and a founding co-director of the polling project. “This is the first time that we’ve seen negative views outweighing positive evaluations of the impact of growth on the state.”
Texas governor's race
The UT/TPP poll also asked about the race for Texas governor, where Gov. Greg Abbott is being challenged by former U.S. representative and presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke. According to the poll, Abbott led O'Rourke 48% to 37% with 16% uncommitted.
Joshua Bank, research director at the Texas Politics Project, said O'Rourke needs to focus on three groups to close the gap between him and Abbott.
“Support for both Abbott and O’Rourke has remained consistent among key groups of voters in the electorate, looking back over the last three UT surveys,” said Joshua Blank, research director of the Texas Politics Project. “If O’Rourke is going to tighten the race with Abbott over the next seven months, he’s going to have to improve his standing among independents, Hispanics and suburban voters relative to the governor.”
Abortion in Texas
The April poll included a wide range of policy subject questions, including abortion. Surveyors asked whether Texans supported or opposed banning all abortions in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
A majority of Texas voters participating in the survey, 56%, said they "oppose or strongly oppose such a ban," while 35% expressed support for a total abortion ban.
In a related question, surveyors asked respondents about the availability of abortion and whether or not such access should be available.
In response, 39% said that a woman "should always be able to obtain an abortion as a matter of personal choice." Twenty-eight percent said that "the law should permit abortion only in the case of rape, incest or when the woman's life is in danger." Fifteen percent said abortions "should never be permitted" by law and 11% said "the law should permit abortion for reasons other than rape."
Seven percent of respondents said they "don't know."
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