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The Brief: Feb. 26, 2014

The times they are a-changin' on Texans' attitudes toward marijuana, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

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The Big Conversation

The times they are a-changin' on Texans' attitudes toward marijuana, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Forty-nine percent of respondents said marijuana should be legalized for any purpose, whether in small quantities (32 percent) or any quantity (17 percent). Another 28 percent said marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes. "There is not just a libertarian but also a fiscal conservative angle to this," said UT pollster Daron Shaw. "I wonder if this debate doesn’t at some point transform from a social to an economic debate."

In addition, the poll confirmed that the Affordable Care Act, more often referred to these days as Obamacare, remains unpopular among Texans. Fifty-six percent said they viewed the health care law either somewhat or very unfavorably, while 32 percent viewed it either somewhat or very favorably.

Tomorrow's installment of the UT/TT Poll focuses on Texans' views on the state of the state.

The Day Ahead

•    Democratic lite guv candidate Leticia Van de Putte is in Washington, D.C., where she will be honored at the 2014 LULAC National Legislative Conference.

•    GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott is in Conroe and San Antonio, while GOP lite guv candidate Todd Staples is in Fort Worth and Arlington for get-out-the-vote rallies.

•    The Texas Department of Insurance meets in Beaumont to discuss loss funding rules for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (agenda).

Today in the Trib

Analysis: In Abbott World, Nugent Flap Much Ado About Nothing: "The way Democrats see it, Greg Abbott hurt himself by campaigning with caustic rocker Ted Nugent. In the Abbott camp, though, the Nuge blowback theory is another fiction spun by the liberal elites."

Fewer Women Farmers in U.S., but More in Texas: "While the number of women farmers nationally is in decline, in Texas, their ranks are swelling, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture."

UT/TT Poll: Texans Split on Immigration Overhaul: "A slight majority of Texas registered voters would support an overhaul of federal immigration law that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S., according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll."


The Ted Cruz Effect: Political Gold?, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Cruz’s next battle, Politico

Straus leadership PAC spends big to defend incumbents, San Antonio Express-News

Behind the scenes, money from rival sides pours into GOP Texas House races, Austin American-Statesman

PAC targets three GOP House incumbents in DFW area, The Dallas Morning News

Emmett raises his stake to oust GOP chairman, Houston Chronicle

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Not About 'To Ride Off Into the Sunset', NBC News

Quote to Note

"[Kesha] Rogers’ candidacy is an insult to our Party, our President, our state, our Democratic values, and to all the work you are doing to move our state forward."

— Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, urging Democrats not to vote for Rogers — a candidate with ties to Lyndon LaRouche — in the U.S. Senate primary election. In the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, she was leading the field.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    Texas Tribune Festival On the Road at the University of Texas El Paso for a daylong symposium on demographic change, 2/27

•    Live Post-Primary Election TribCast at the Austin Club, 3/5

•    A Conversation With Sen. Wendy Davis, 2014 Democratic Candidate for Governor, at Stateside at the Paramount, 3/6

•    A Conversation With Sen. Charles Schwertner and Reps. John Raney and Kyle Kacal at Texas A&M University in College Station, 3/27

•    A Conversation with U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway at Midland College in Midland, 5/13

•    Save the date for the 2014 Texas Tribune Festival: 9/19-9/21

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Health care Politics Angie Chen Button Greg Abbott Joe Straus Rick Perry Sarah Davis Ted Cruz