AUSTIN, Texas — A majority of Texas voters support stricter immigration laws, including building a wall between the United States and Mexico and disallowing Muslims who are not citizens from entering the U.S., according to the latest poll conducted by The University of Texas at Austin.
Fifty-one percent of respondents agreed that undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. should be deported immediately. However, 49 percent supported a comprehensive immigration plan that would provide a pathway to citizenship, while 47 percent supported a plan that would provide a pathway to legal residency. Opposition to these immigration strategies hovered around 40 percent.
When asked about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s signature proposal on immigration, 52 percent of Texans polled somewhat or strongly support the idea of building a wall between the United States and Mexico, compared with the 40 percent who somewhat or strongly oppose the idea. Texas occupies 1,254 miles of the 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico border.
The internet-based statewide poll was conducted between June 10 and June 20 by the market research firm YouGov. The sample included 1,200 self-declared registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points. Of the respondents, 38 percent were Democrat, 46 percent were Republican and 16 percent were independent.
UT pollsters also found that 53 percent of Texans polled somewhat or strongly supported banning Muslims who are not U.S. citizens from entering the U.S., while 37 percent somewhat or strongly opposed the notion.
“The partisan patterns in support for a wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico, and for banning noncitizen Muslims from entering the United States, are likely shaped by politics in the current presidential campaign,” said James Henson, co-director of the poll and director of the Texas Politics Project at UT. “The majorities in support of these proposals are made up largely of Republicans who support positions taken by their presumptive presidential nominee.”
When asked which groups faced the most discrimination, 23 percent of Texans pegged Muslims as the most discriminated against group. In a separate item, 73 percent of respondents noted that Muslims face “some” or “a lot” of discrimination.
Christians were identified by 21 percent of respondents as the most discriminated against group, followed by African Americans, at 14 percent; transgender people, at 12 percent; and gays and lesbians at 11 percent.
Seventy percent of respondents believed transgender people experienced “some” or “a lot” of discrimination, and 69 percent thought similarly about gays and lesbians. Fifty-three percent of Texans polled were concerned about the issue of transgender access to public restrooms, and 52 percent believed access to public restrooms should be determined by birth gender, rather than gender identity, which received support from 29 percent of respondents.
When questioned on who should determine transgender students’ accessibility to public school facilities, respondents were split in their decision: 25 percent chose the authority of the federal government; 21 percent chose state governments; 34 percent chose local school districts; and 20 percent answered “don’t know/no opinion.”
“There are many cross currents in attitudes on transgender access to public facilities,” Henson said. “The poll results show conservatives, as is often the case with public education issues, leaning strongly toward leaving decisions to local authorities, while liberals follow a common tendency to place more trust in the federal government to shape policy.”
This is the latest in a series of polls conducted by UT Austin’s Texas Politics Project. Graphics, a summary, crosstabs and a data file are publicly available for research and teaching at the Texas Politics Project website.