Liberty and freedom are considered to be core Texas values, and increasingly Texas voters are extending these concepts to the right to marry the person of one's choosing.
A new poll conducted by Texas Tech University shows record high levels of support for marriage equality: a plurality of respondents, 48%, support it, whereas 47% oppose it.
Support for marriage equality breaks down along traditional party lines: 72% of Democrats and 57% of independents support it, while only 28% of Republicans agree with it.
This is the first poll to be conducted on the issue since a federal judge in San Antonio struck down the state's marriage bans in February, and reveals a 9-point swing towards equality since the June 2013 UT/Texas Tribune poll that found 39% support for the measure.
Find out why this is a surprising result in the context of the poll below the jump.The poll, available here, also tested other issues including attitudes towards the NSA, approval ratings for Obamacare, and attitudes towards undocumented immigrants. It also found overwhelming support for Greg Abbott, David Dewhurst, and Rick Perry, suggesting that the sample was fairly conservative.
However, even with self-identified Republicans opposing marriage equality by a 38-point margin, Democrats and Independents support it so overwhelmingly as to suggest that this is an increasingly mainstream position.
The question was worded, “Do you think marriages between gay and lesbian couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?” Results were weighted by age and gender.
The survey presents an interesting snapshot of the Texas electorate. While it appears to have oversampled conservatives, the poll still found a plurality of support for marriage equality and a majority of support for undocumented immigrants being allowed to stay in the U.S. and apply for citizenship, at 56%.
While the poll still found extensive opposition to “Obamacare” and support for the Tea Party, the issue questions suggest that at least on marriage equality and immigration reform, the progressive position is increasingly the mainstream position on the issue.
What remains to be seen is if this public sentiment is reflected in the laws passed in the 2015 legislative session. The anti-sodomy law is still on the books in Texas despite being struck down on the federal level, and if Dan Patrick is elected Lieutenant Governor it's hard to imagine the State Senate passing anything that isn't overtly hostile to immigration issues.
Until voters choose their candidates based on these basic human rights issues, our laws on the books may not actually reflect public opinion.