AUSTIN, Texas — A new poll conducted as a joint effort between the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (THPF) and TEGNA Texas station reveals how voters in the Lone Star State feel about issues that have come into focus over the past several months.
This is the second part of the "Texas Decides" poll by the THPF and KVUE along with its sister stations KHOU, KENS and WFAA. It pulls from a survey of 1,172 likely Texas Voters that was carried out between Sept. 6 and Sept. 15, 2022.
The report analyzes the attitudes and opinions of Texans in regard to the direction in which the U.S. and Texas are headed, handling of issues at the U.S.-Mexico border by President Joe Biden and Gov. Greg Abbott, abortion legislation, and the impact of the Uvalde elementary mass shooting on the public's opinion of politicians, parties and institutions.
Part 1 of the poll was released on Sunday. It covered who Texans are likely to vote for in the November 2022 elections. Meanwhile, Part 3 is set to be released later this week.
Here's a look at the results from Part 2 of the poll:
Direction of the U.S. and Texas
The poll found that a majority of Texans believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction (73% to 27%) among likely voters. When asked about whether Texas is headed in the right direction, a slight majority of voters believe it is not (53% to 47%).
The poll reveals that Texans believe the State is headed in the right direction (47%) more than they believe the nation as a whole is (27%). Also significant is that more Texans believe the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction (73%) than believe Texas is headed in the wrong direction (53%).
Support and opposition of Texas border policies
The survey also asked likely Texas voters how much they support or oppose half a dozen border security policies that Texas has implemented under Gov. Abbott.
The policies asked about included:
- Texas building a wall on the state’s border with Mexico.
- Texas state and local law enforcement arresting people who cross the Mexican border illegally.
- Texas deploying National Guard soldiers to patrol along the border with Mexico.
- Texas sending Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers to patrol along the border with Mexico.
- Texas spending $1.5 billion dollars every year on border security.
- Texas paying to send asylum seekers by bus to Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C.
The poll results showed that a majority of Texas voters support all the policies. Here's a look at the levels of support each policy has:
A total of 54% of those surveyed also expressed support for Texas spending $1.5 billion every year on border security.
On the other side, between one-fifth (22%) and one-third (34%) of Texans oppose the six policies. Among Texas voters:
- 34% are opposed to Texas building a border wall
- 32% are opposed to the State spending $1.5 billion a year on border security
- 31% are opposed to Texas paying to send asylum seekers out of state
- 28% are opposed to Texas deploying the Texas National Guard to the border
- 27% are opposed to Texas sending DPS to patrol along the border
- 22% are opposed to Texas state and local law enforcement arresting people who cross the border illegally
The poll also breaks down the responses to these six policies by race and ethnicity, showing that an absolute majority of white voters support all six policies.
The results are mixed when looking at the responses of Hispanic Texans.
A majority of Hispanic Texans support three policies: 53% support Texas sending DPS to patrol along the border, 52% support deploying the Texas National Guard to patrol the border and 50% support Texas state and local police arresting people who cross the border illegally.
A plurality of Hispanic Texans supports two other policies: 45% in support of Texas spending $1.5 million on border security every year (40% opposed) and 42% support Texas paying to send asylum seekers out of state (39% opposed).
A narrow minority of Hispanic Texans oppose Texas building a border wall (47% to 46%).
Among Black Texans, a majority supported one policy: 60% are in favor of Texas law enforcement arresting those who cross the border illegally.
A plurality of Black Texans support two policies: 45% support deploying the Texas National Guard to patrol the border (37% opposed) and 45% support sending DPS to patrol the border (32% opposed).
A minority of Black Texans support the State spending $1.5 billion a year on border security (37% in support to 41% opposed), building a border wall (33% support to 42% opposed), and Texas paying to send asylum seekers out of state (29% in support to 41% opposed).
Looking at six policies broken down by political affiliation, a majority of Republicans and Independents support the policies enacted by the governor.
Democratic support for the policies is more robust than Republican opposition to them, ranging from 18% (building a wall) to 35% (arresting migrants crossing illegally) of Texas Democrats in favor.
Besides the six policies, voters were asked what they thought about the president and governor's handling of the border. Significantly more (56%) Texans approve of Abbott's handling of the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border than they do of Biden's (34%).
More Texans disapprove (66%) of Biden's handling of the situation at the border than disapprove of Abbott's (44%).
Abortion policy after Roe v. Wade being overturned
The survey also asked voters the question:
Abortion is now illegal in Texas, except if the life or well-being of the mother is at risk. If you were able, would you modify Texas law to make it easier or make it harder for a woman to obtain an abortion, or would you leave the law as it is now?
Out of likely Texas voters, 11% said they would modify the law to make it harder for women to get an abortion, 37% said they would leave it as it is and 52% said they would change the law to make it easier for a woman to get an abortion in Texas.
When looking at the issue based on the race and ethnicity of women who participated, 79% of Black women, 58% of Hispanic women, and 51% of white women would modify the law to make it easier for women in Texas to have an abortion.
How Uvalde tragedy weighs on public political evaluations
For the poll voters were also asked about the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Two teachers and 19 students were killed there on May 24, 2022, when a shooter entered the school through an unlocked door armed with automatic weapons.
Likely Texas voters were asked:
In the aftermath of the May 2022 Uvalde Mass Shooting, would you say that your opinion of the following individuals and organizations is now more favorable, less favorable, or has it remained the same?
Three political figures and three organizations were evaluated: Greg Abbott, Beto O’Rourke, John Cornyn, the Texas Democratic Party, the Texas Republican Party, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
In all instances, the proportion of Texas likely voters who hold a less favorable view of the political figure or organization after the Uvalde tragedy is greater than those with a more favorable opinion.
Substantially more Hispanic Texans (48% to 19%) view Abbott as less favorable after the Uvalde mass shooting. Meanwhile, 32% of Hispanic Texans see O'Rourke as less favorable, compared to 37% who see him as more favorable after the tragedy.
See all of the results of Part 2 of the "Texas Decides" poll here.
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