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The Brief: Oct. 27, 2014

Border security and immigration top the list of concerns in Texas, according to the most recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

A Texas Parks and Wildlife warden patrols the Rio Grande in July, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Border security and immigration top the list of Texas voters' concerns about the state, according to the most recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet poll. Those two issues were listed as a top concern by two of five voters.

While it would come as no surprise that Tea Party voters put more of an emphasis on these twin issues than Republicans overall, the poll also points to something interesting among Hispanics. While that group doesn't see border security as importantly as the state as a whole, immigration is the top priority.

“When you frame this as law and order on the border, you do not lose Hispanic voters — if you are careful,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and director of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin, pointing in particular to the tacks taken by Abbott and Perry during the last few months. “We have seen a lot more of candidates who are careful on those issues than of those who are not.”

Here are some other takeaways from the poll's measure of the voters' pulse:

•    Texans are more bullish on the future of the state than the country as a whole. A total of 48 percent felt the state is on the right track, while 35 percent thought the state is on the wrong track. Contrast that to the 25 percent who thought the country is on the right track, while 65 percent thought it is on the wrong track.

•    Texans see the economy as the biggest problem facing the nation, with 14 percent calling it a top concern. Eleven percent, meanwhile, named political corruption their top concern, and 9 percent cited national security.

•    The constitutional amendment that would create a new source of funding for roads projects appears to be cruising to easy approval. Sixty-eight percent were for the amendment, while 15 percent were against.

“If the opposition had been at 30 percent, it would still be in good shape, but this is a blowout,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll. 

Disclosure: UT-Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here. 

The Day Ahead

•    Eight-day out campaign finance reports are due. The filings will document candidates' fundraising activity between Sept. 26 and Oct. 25.

•    The major-party nominees for governor are busy with get out the vote activities across the state. Democrat Wendy Davis will be in Austin rallying UT-Austin students, while Republican Greg Abbott, accompanied by Chuck Norris, will rally supporters in Midland and El Paso.

•    Gov. Rick Perry will speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library at a forum on the 50th anniversary of Reagan's "A Time for Choosing" speech.

•    The House County Affairs Committee meets at 1:30 p.m. at the University of Texas-Pan American to take testimony on implementation of the Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program 1115 Waiver, indigent care and issues affecting local jails. (agenda)

Trib Must-Reads

Demographics Create Electoral Battleground in HD-105, by Alexa Ura

Analysis: Short of a Win, Measuring Democrats' Progress, by Ross Ramsey

In El Paso, a Mirror of Catholicism's Challenges, by Julián Aguilar

Phil Collins Collection Arriving at the Alamo, by Reeve Hamilton


Wendy Davis visits 6 Houston-area churches, Austin American-Statesman

Suburban women elusive, but key to Davis' chances, Houston Chronicle

Where Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott draw their fundraising support, Austin American-Statesman

Ebola becomes focus of border security debate, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Will district in NE Dallas, Garland, Mesquite stay Republican?, The Dallas Morning News

Lawmakers take up school finance while waiting for court to rule, Houston Chronicle

In Burleson County, the rush is on for water, San Antonio Express-News

Research project tracking social media faces conservative criticism, San Antonio Express-News

How Facebook Is Changing the Way Its Users Consume Journalism, The New York Times

Quote to Note

"My wife's family has been here a long time and they've seen booms. One day you go to the mailbox and you've got a wonderful check. Six months later, it could be there in a very diminished way. And it could be there not at all."

— DeWitt County Judge Daryl Fowler, on his region's ability to take the long view when it comes to the current boom in the energy sector

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commission Candidates Steve Brown and Ryan Sitton, on Oct. 30 at The Austin Club in Austin

•    A One-Day Symposium on the Impact of the Shale Boom on Oct. 31 at the University of Texas San Antonio

•    A Live Post-Election TribCast, featuring Tribune editors and reporters on the election results, on Nov. 5 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick on Nov. 6 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Dec. 4 at The Austin Club

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Energy Environment Health care Politics Public education Greg Abbott Rick Perry Wendy Davis