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UT/Texas Politics Project Poll: Texas Voters Lack Confidence on Efforts Toward the Grid, Border Security and School Safety

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AUSTIN, Texas — The latest University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll finds Texans had negative views of the Legislature and its responsiveness to the needs of Texans. Fewer than 1 in 5 Texans said they were “very” or “extremely” confident that the Legislature had increased the reliability of the electric grid or the water supply, improved the safety of Texas’ public schools, or improved security along the Texas-Mexico border.

When asked to describe their opinions of the Legislature, nearly half of Texans in the poll (49%) said that Texas’ state government “mostly ignores the needs of Texas residents” — up nearly 20 points since the question was first asked in 2012. More than a third (36%) said that state government mostly addresses Texans’ needs, which was down from 54% in October 2012.

The poll surveyed 1,200 registered voters in Texas during June 2-12 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points.

“While partisans applauded legislative action on some niche issues, Texans remain largely skeptical of the political leadership’s efforts on some of the most challenging issues the state is facing,” said James Henson, director of UT Austin’s Texas Politics Project and a founding co-director of the poll. “While anxieties about the grid and school safety are well established, the overall results in this poll display a broader skepticism about state politics and institutions.”

The survey, conducted at the conclusion of the regular legislative session, also found that 50% of Texans said the impeachment and trial of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was justified. Seventeen percent said it was not justified, and a third had no opinion.

Republicans as a group are nearly evenly split on the impeachment: 31% said it was justified, 30% thought it was not, and the plurality, 39%, expressed no opinion or didn’t know. Among self-identified conservatives, the shares were similar: 32% thought the impeachment justified, 31% not justified, and 37% expressed no opinion.

Evaluations of state leaders’ attempts to reduce property taxes received the lowest total approval rating from among 16 issue areas voters were asked to evaluate in the poll, tied with mental health. Only 25% of respondents approved of how the Legislature handled property taxes (7% strongly approved), while 45% disapproved (25% strongly disapproved).

Forty-two percent said they expect their property taxes to increase, while only 23% expect them to decrease; 21% expect them to stay the same, while the remaining 14% had no opinion. The pessimism was bipartisan: 48% of Democrats and 41% of Republicans expected property tax bills to increase, while only 21% and 22%, respectively, expected them to decrease.

“Statewide candidates and legislative leaders promised property tax reduction during the 2022 campaigns and in the lead up to the legislative session before setting aside a large chunk of the budget surplus to fund that effort,” said Joshua Blank, research director of UT Austin’s Texas Politics Project. “There’s no doubt that the very public failure to pass meaningful property tax reduction during the regular session has negatively influenced voters’ perceptions of these efforts.”

Other findings include:

  • Forty-four percent of voters said that they disapproved of how state leaders and the Legislature have handled the reliability of the electricity grid, while only 28% approved; 20% offered neutral evaluations, and 8% had no opinion.
  • A majority (76%) expressed support for a policy that would require at least one armed guard on each public school campus during school hours (including 91% of Republicans and a majority, 59%, of Democrats).
  • Only 18% said that they were either “extremely” (6%) or “very confident” (12%) that legislative efforts had increased the safety of Texas’ public schools compared with 48% who said they were either “not very” (19%) or “not confident” (29%).
  • Paxton’s job approval ratings declined from 39% approve / 35% disapprove (net +4) in April to 30% approve / 41% disapprove (net -11) in June. These are Paxton’s worst overall job approval ratings in polling going back to June 2021.
  • Greg Abbott’s job approval ratings remained positive among registered voters — 47% approve while 42% disapprove — and remained very strong among Republicans, 81% of whom approve of his job performance.

Full results from the poll and methodological information, including the questionnaire reporting results, cross tabs and downloadable graphics of results, are available on the Texas Politics Project website.