AUSTIN, Texas With mid-term elections less than a week away, immigration and border security remain foremost on Texans’ minds when they think about the problems facing the state, according to the latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll.
Twenty-three percent of registered voters said border security is the most important problem facing Texas today, with 18 percent naming immigration. Hot button social issues such as abortion and gay marriage registered just 2 and 1 percent respectively.
A majority of Texans 71 percent strongly or somewhat support the deployment of National Guard troops to the Texas border to assist with the increased flow of immigrants from Central America.
Sixty percent also strongly or somewhat agree that “undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States should be deported immediately.” Thirty-four percent strongly or somewhat disagreed with the statement.
“Border security and immigration have ranked as the top perceived problems facing the state for several polls in a row,” said James Henson, Director of UT Austin’s Texas Politics Project and co-director of the poll. “This is particularly true of Texans who identify as Republican, and likely has been reinforced by political candidates who have made border security and illegal immigration centerpieces of their political campaigns during the 2014 campaign.”
The statewide poll, conducted Oct. 10-19, surveyed 1,200 registered Texas voters and had a margin of error of +/-3.28 percentage points.
A majority of those polled also expressed a favorable opinion of Texas’ voter identification law, with 66 percent saying they had a very or somewhat favorable opinion. Texans were somewhat split on the law’s perceived effect on voter turnout, with 38 percent saying the laws decrease turnout and 43 percent saying they have no effect on turnout.
President Barack Obama continues to receive low marks, with 57 percent of those polled “disapproving strongly” or “disapproving somewhat” of his job as president.
Texans appear somewhat divided on U.S. involvement in foreign affairs. Asked if the country would be better off “if we just stayed home and did not concern ourselves with problems in other parts of the world,” fifty-four disagreed somewhat or strongly, while 43 percent agreed somewhat or strongly.
“Texans were closely divided on American engagement with problems in the world at a time when many of those problems are in the news,” Henson said. “The lack of consensus among political leaders on engagement with problems like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the Ebola epidemic in Africa is mirrored in public opinion, too.”
This is the latest in a series of online polls conducted by the Texas Politics Project and The Texas Tribune. Comprehensive poll results, information about methodology and the survey dataset are available at the Texas Politics Project website.