Voters in the party that has not lost a statewide election in Texas since 1994 are most likely to say that elections are fraught with criminality, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
The findings echo Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “rigged election” theme and rising apprehension over foreign or criminal hackers.
Republicans, who have won every statewide election in Texas for the past two decades, were more likely than independents and much more likely than Democrats to say that “people voting who are not eligible” will be an “extremely serious” or “somewhat serious” problem in this year’s elections.
Nine of 10 Republicans said ineligible voters voting would be a serious problem, 69 percent of independents said so and only 23 percent of Democrats agreed. Three-quarters of the Democrats rated the problem “not too serious” or “not serious at all.”
Among the Republican voters, 70 percent ranked the problem as “extremely serious.”
“Wow,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, after looking over the results. “To me, it’s an indication of how unhappy people are with the system, how deeply they believe it is corrupt and incompetent.”
The same pattern held true when they were asked about people voting multiple times. Overwhelming numbers of Republican likely voters — 83 percent — said that will be a serious problem this year. Among independent voters, 61 percent agreed with that, but only 24 percent of Democrats think multiple voting will be a serious problem.
“This is one of these showcase results where you have to ask the chicken-and-egg question about Republican attitudes in Texas and what Donald Trump seems to have wrought — but might just be plugging into,” said Jim Henson, who heads the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin and co-directs the poll. “Republicans nationally, but also in Texas, have been stoking worries about the election process in the absence of any systematic evidence of any real problems.”
The party lines blur a bit when voters are asked about “votes being counted inaccurately.” Three quarters of self-identified Republican and independent voters think that will be a serious concern this year, and 45 percent of Democrats agree with them.
And the lines fade more when it comes to “voting machines being hacked into by a foreign government or other bad actor.” That one got a serious ranking from 66 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents and 55 percent of Democrats.
The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 14 to Oct. 23 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points. Among likely voters — those who said either that they are certain to vote or that they have voted in “every” recent election — the margin of error is +/- 3.16 percentage points (n=959). Numbers in charts might not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.
This is one of several stories on the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Yesterday: The race for president. Also today: What Texas voters think about various state and federal officeholders and institutions.
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.