The Tribune's write-up of a question on Texas voters' perception of a gender wage gap focused on an apparent disconnect between the prevalence of the view that indeed there is a wage gap and an urgent need to do something.
The University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found that 59 percent thought men are paid more for doing the same work. Another 34 percent thought men and women earn the same amount, while just 2 percent believed women earn more. In response to a follow-up question, 49 percent believed the state should do more to ensure equal pay between the sexes, while 34 percent believed the state is doing enough on the question. And 7 percent thought the state should do less.
The story accompanying the poll results focused on that 10-point gap between the portion of voters who thought a wage gap exists and the portion who should the state should step up its game in addressing the gap. The interpretation offered up in the story was the disconnect suggested the influence of the Tea Party and a general unease with the government solving problems.
It was subsequently suggested to us that a more accurate way to frame the question would be to focus on the 49-41 breakdown in favor of doing something more about the wage gap. The point here, it was argued, is that a strong plurality is in favor of action in a survey that had Greg Abbott ahead by 12 points over Wendy Davis for governor.
In other words, the more interesting interpretation, it was argued, is the issue must be a galvanizing one for so many Republicans to be willing to buck their party's standard bearer on the wage gap question and favor additional state action.
Abbott, meanwhile, launched his first television ad of the general election season this week. And in one of those twists that cause pundits to start speculating, the ad was done entirely in Spanish and premiered during the World Cup. An early signal of the Republican candidate's intent to appeal to Hispanic voters? A subtle countermessage to his party's messaging on immigration from the state convention?
Abbott's goals here, of course, are not an either/or proposition. It's probable that he was trying to do all those things and more by choosing this manner to introduce himself to voters beyond his party. And he got his mother-in-law to say nice things about him, to boot.
And in case you missed it, here's some other pertinent changes made to the Republican Party of Texas platform:
• The party supports recall elections for elected officials and making House Speaker a statewide elected position.
• The party supports a "full repeal" of the Patriot Act, legislation pushed by President George W. Bush at the outset of the global war on terror. Before, the platform had just called for "reviewing and revising" the law.
• The party withdrew support for term limits for elected officials in the new platform.
• The party also removed explicit support for the Boy Scouts of America.