Vol 30, Issue 42 Print Issue

A Quick Romp Through the Latest UT/TT Poll

The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll is out, along with a full summary and crosstabs, if you’re interested in the guts of the things. A quick executive summary of the toplines:

• Attorney General Greg Abbott dominates an otherwise anemic Republican field for governor, but is unknown to more people than his Democratic opponent Wendy Davis — a tidbit that might explain why he is leading her in the polls by just 5 points a year before the election.

• The Republican race for lieutenant governor is tangled up with incumbent David Dewhurst in front with 26 percent and his three challengers pulling a combined 28-percent “Not Dewhurst” vote. A huge number of Republicans, 46 percent, haven’t made up their minds.

• U.S. Sen. John Cornyn leads his primary race with 39 percent.

• Undecided voters account for 74 percent in the Republican attorney general’s race where nobody breaks 12 percent, including Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman, who was on the statewide ballot just a year ago.

• Former gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina leads a similarly unknown field of candidates in the race for comptroller, getting 15 points in a race where 75 percent of voters haven’t make a decision.

• U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is better known than he was just a few months ago, and the numbers tell you as much about his politics as his label might. He leads the (suspected) field of Republicans in the 2016 presidential race, with 32 percent; second place goes to Gov. Rick Perry, at 10 percent. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got 67 percent in the Democratic heat, with Vice President Joe Biden second at 7 percent.

• Texans aren’t crazy about the Affordable Care Act, but they like some of the components quite a bit, including Medicaid expansion, tax credits for small businesses that provide health insurance to employees, fines for big businesses that don’t, insurance subsidies for the poor, letting kids stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26, a ban on insurance cancellations for preexisting conditions, and higher payroll taxes on high-income Americans.

• The most important problems facing the state, according to the respondents, are immigration, border security and political corruption/leadership. The country’s most important problems, they said, are federal spending, the economy and political corruption/leadership.

• Voters are split when it comes to a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S., but they would allow it under certain circumstances. That said, the partisan and ethnic splits are deep, illustrating the problem for politicians trying to find consensus on immigration reform without alarming the partisans on either side.

• Texans don’t trust big institutions with their privacy, notably intelligence, law enforcement and tax agencies on the public sector side, and cell phone and internet providers on the private sector side.

• And while only 2 percent of Texans believe nobody is ever wrongly convicted on death penalty offences in Texas, 74 percent support the death penalty. On that first question, 27 percent said people are “almost never” wrongly convicted; 49 percent said those mistakes are only “occasionally” made.

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted Oct. 18-27 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points. Results among self-identified Republican primary voters carry a margin of error of +/- 5.02 percentage points; among Democratic primary voters, +/- 6.03 percentage points. Numbers in the charts might not add up to 100 percent, because of rounding.