Poll: Border issues loom in Texas voters’ views

Roughly 100 demonstators all part of a grassroots group called Witness at the Border supported by ACLU Texas and Children's Defense Fund Texas gather to protest the Texas border crisis in front of Brownsville, Texas, Tent Courts at International Gateway Bridge Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

By Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune

Immigration and border security continue as the most important problems facing the state, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

One or the other topped the list for 31% of Texas voters, followed by health care (11%) and political corruption/leadership (9%).

The lists differed by party. For Democratic voters, the top problems facing Texas are political corruption/leadership, 16%; health care, 16%; and immigration, 8%. More than half of Republicans answered border security, 28%, and immigration, 24%.

Political corruption/leadership topped the list of most important problems facing the country, followed by health care (10%), immigration (9%), border security (6%) and the environment (6%).

The list for Democrats: political corruption/leadership, 22%; health care, 15%; and environment, 11%. For Republicans: immigration, 16%; political corruption/leadership, 11%; and border security, 11%.

Nearly half of the state’s voters, 49%, said the country is on the wrong track, while 40% said things are going in the right direction. Those responses appear to correspond with which party is in charge: 72% of Republicans said things are going in the right direction, and 81% of Democrats said things are on the wrong track.

The overall take on the state was better, with 48% saying things are going in the right direction and 37% saying the state is on the wrong track. Among Democrats, 63% had a negative view of what’s happening in Texas; among Republicans, 80% had a positive one.

“Republican ownership of state government makes them slightly more optimistic in the mood questions, and ownership of how things are being run,” said poll co-director Daron Shaw, a government professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Texans’ assessments of economic matters were generally positive. The national economy is better than it was a year ago, according to 48% of the voters; 24% said it is worse and 25% said it’s about the same.

The state economy is better than last year, 43% said; it’s worse, according to 15%, and about the same, according to 36%.

Asked about how they and their families are doing economically, 41% said they’re better off than a year ago, 19% said they’re worse off, and 38% said things are about the same.

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from Jan. 31 to Feb. 9 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points, and an overall margin of error of +/- 4.09 percentage points for Democratic trial ballots. Numbers in charts might not add up to 100% because of rounding.