BOR POLL: Texans Deeply Divided on Rick Perry, Direction of Texas, Issues Facing State

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Today, Burnt Orange Report PAC (aka BOR PAC) is excited to bring you the results of our first statewide poll of Texas voters, and launch our series of six polls that we've contracted to run this year. We have partnered with People Calling People and VoterHistory.com to conduct these polls. The poll was paid for by BOR PAC, the arm of Burnt Orange Report that will be funding political expenditures.

Before we tell you the results, we have a few notes on our universe, and our results:

  • This is a poll of Likely Voters. Our Likely Voter screen skewed the universe towards an older, whiter, more Republican electorate than the registered voter population — and general population — of Texas as a whole. Additionally, because this was a poll of land-line phones, our respondents skewed even older and whiter than the likely voter screen.
  • Partisanship was determined by respondents' self-identification as more likely to vote for Democrats or Republicans. Those that chose “otherwise” are not included in the partisanship cross-tab, but are included in the “all.”
  • There is no weighting of these results; however, weighting for sex or party ID would have only minimally impacted the results due to the sample size.
  • In our full results, posted below the jump, we have cross-tabbed each answer by age (under 60, 60 and up), sex, and party. We initially looked at sex vs. party, but found that a) the margin of error was too high to make the results meaningful, and b) there wasn't a huge degree of divergence between men and women of the same party identification.

Overall, the results demonstrate sharp polarization in Texas between Democrats and Republicans in terms of their approval of Perry and opinion of the major issues facing our state. On nearly every issue, Democrats and Republicans disagree. However, what's most interesting is how out-of-touch Republicans are from the majority opinion of Texans.

Other key take-aways:

  • Texans are split on whether or not Texas is moving in the right direction. Republicans say yes and Democrats say no, by almost the identical percentages.
  • While Texans as a whole disapprove of the job Perry is doing, Republicans approve of Rick Perry by a 2-1 margin.
  • On the whole, Texans disapprove of the mandatory sonogram law, and of potential laws that would allow employers to deny employees insurance coverage of birth control.
  • 26% of Republicans say they are willing to raise taxes to fund public education. Don't tell Grover Norquist!
  • Texans support using the Rainy Day fund to restore cuts to public education. Republicans oppose this, but only marginally.

Republicans really are the party of “No.” Unfortunately for the rest of us, they so overwhelm the electorate — and our elected bodies — that the rest of us are left to suffer at the hands of their policies.

The poll was in the field April 4-5, 2012. We targeted Likely Voters, defined here as voters who cast a ballot in at least 2 of the last 3 November partisan general elections (2010, 2008, 2006). Margin of error ranges from 4.1 to 4.4%.

BOR PAC Issues Poll: April 2012


“Do you think Texas is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction?”
All: Democrats: Republicans:
Right: 42% 19% 65%
Wrong: 40% 65% 21%
Otherwise: 18% 16% 14%
Texans as a whole are split on this issue; however when viewed through the lens of party identification it is clear that Democrats and Republicans have vastly divergent ideas of whether or not things are going well in the Lone Star State.

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“Overall, do you approve of the way that Rick Perry is handling his job as Governor of Texas?”
All: Democrats: Republicans:
Approve: 35% 6% 61%
Disapprove: 57% 89% 32%
Otherwise: 9% 5% 7%
Here we see that the majority of Texans disapprove of the way Perry is handling his job as Governor; again, however, Republicans approve of him by an almost two-to-one margin. The man knows his base!

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“The Legislature passed a law that requires women to undergo a sonogram before an abortion. Do you support this law?”
All: Democrats: Republicans:
Support: 39% 21% 58%
Oppose: 48% 69% 31%
Otherwise: 13% 10% 11%
A majority of Texans oppose the sonogram law. This is good news, and likely a reflection of the intense media attention surrounding the law. Yet again, however, we see that Republicans are out of touch with the rest of Texans on this crucial issue for women's reproductive rights.

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“Proposed new laws could allow employers to refuse to cover their employees' prescription birth control.”
All: Democrats: Republicans:
Support: 35% 14% 56%
Oppose: 51% 74% 34%
Otherwise: 14% 12% 10%
Again here we see a majority of Texans opposing laws that would allow employers to deny insurance coverage of birth control for their employees. And yet again, we see Republicans supporting these measures, though by a slightly narrower margin than they do the sonogram law.

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“Marriage equality laws allow gays and lesbians to get married.”
All: Democrats: Republicans:
Support: 33% 45% 19%
Oppose: 54% 42% 72%
Otherwise: 13% 13% 9%
While this is not exactly a shocking result here in Texas, from a progressive standpoint it is good to see Democrats tilting towards “support” on this issue. Maybe the SDEC should reconsider whether this issue can be in the resolutions section of our primary ballot, since clearly, if narrowly, Democrats support marriage equality.

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“In 2011, the Texas legislature cut 5.4 billion dollars from the public education budget. Some lawmakers want to raise taxes to restore funding to education.”
All: Democrats: Republicans:
Support: 38% 59% 26%
Oppose: 50% 30% 66%
Otherwise: 12% 11% 8%
The big shocker here is that one quarter of Republicans support raising taxes to fund public education and restore the draconian cuts of last session. Take note, however, that Texans as a whole oppose this move, suggesting that the decimation of public education has not fully registered with likely voters.

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“There is currently almost ten billion dollars in the state's Rainy Day fund. Some lawmakers want to use this money to restore funding for public education.”
All: Democrats: Republicans:
Support: 59% 80% 43%
Oppose: 31% 12% 48%
Otherwise: 10% 7% 9%
This is perhaps the most important result from this poll: by an almost 2-to-1 margin, Texans support using the Rainy Day Fund to restore cuts to public education. What is likely boosting this number is the overwhelming Democratic support for this effort, as well as the marginal Republican opposition. This could be a very good issue for Democrats to campaign on this cycle, and a difficult question for Republicans to answer: why won't Republican candidates commit to using the Rainy Day fund to restore cuts to education? And in case you are curious, yes, we did ask the tax question before the Rainy Day fund question.

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“Some lawmakers have proposed an independent redistricting commission, which would take the process out of the hands of the Legislature.”
All: Democrats: Republicans:
Support: 44% 54% 34%
Oppose: 31% 20% 47%
Otherwise: 26% 25% 20%
While Texans as a whole support an independent redistricting commission, Republicans do not. Hey, makes sense — they make out like bandits under the current system. You know who doesn't? People in Texas who want fair representation, and think the Legislature's time could be spent on better things than drawing maps to protect themselves.

Full crosstabs are available below the jump. Thanks again to People Calling People for partnering with us on this project!

Support more polls and more projects like this. Make a donation to BOR PAC today!

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