Texans don’t see eye-to-eye on climate, health care or taxes, UT/TT Poll finds

If you want a peek into the partisan differences among Texas voters, just check the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll's findings on climate change, health insurance plans and who ought to pay higher federal income taxes.

 Photo Illustration by Eddie Seal / Emily Albracht for The Texas Tribune

If you’re interested in the partisan divide in Texas, ask voters about climate change. Or health insurance. Or federal income taxes.

In the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, 48 percent of registered voters said the U.S. government should be doing “a great deal” or “a lot” about climate change, 26 percent said it should be doing “a moderate amount” or “a little,” and 21 percent said the government should be doing nothing.

But 83 percent of Democrats agreed with strong government actions while only 18 percent of Republicans did. And while 41 percent of Republicans said the government should be taking milder action, only 10 percent of Democrats took that position. Doing nothing about climate change at the U.S. government level was the choice of 36 percent of Republicans and only 4 percent of Democrats.

Independent voters fell in between: 43 percent favored stronger government action, 26 percent favored milder action and 24 percent said the U.S. government should do nothing about climate change.

Younger Texas voters are more likely to see a need for government action than older ones. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 61 percent said the government should do either a great deal or a lot, and 56 percent of 30- to 44-year-olds agreed. Among 45- to 64-year-olds, 44 percent support stronger action, and among Texans who are 65 or older, 36 percent see a need for strong U.S. government action.

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The partisan splits were on full display in voters’ answers to a question about which health insurance system they would prefer. Their choices, as stated in the poll: "the current health insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance" or "a universal health insurance program, in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that's run by the government and financed by taxpayers."

Overall, 45 percent of Texas voters prefer the current system, 44 percent prefer a universal system, and 10 percent said they don’t know or have no opinion. Those numbers disguise deep differences. Among Democrats, the current system is the preference of 12 percent, and the universal system is the preference of 79 percent. Among Republicans, 77 percent prefer the current system, and 14 percent prefer a universal system.

Independents again find themselves somewhere in between, with 38 percent in favor of the current system and 46 percent saying they prefer a universal system.

Finally, Texas voters were asked about several proposals to increase federal income taxes, and they like the idea more for the economy’s biggest earners than for everyone else. Increasing income taxes for families earning more than $10 million annually is favored by 62 percent. More than half, 56 percent, favor raising federal income taxes for families earning more than $1 million a year.

The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.

A question about increases for families making more than $250,000 annually split voters, with 42 percent in favor and 44 percent against. And higher federal income taxes for everybody was a nonstarter for almost everybody: Only 10 percent favor that, and 79 percent oppose it.

Democrats were more likely than Republicans to favor higher federal income taxes, with 60 percent saying they should be raised for the $250,000-plus families, 84 percent favoring higher taxes on the $1-million-plus earners, and 86 percent in favor of higher income taxes on $10-million-plus incomes. More Republicans oppose any of those increases, even among the highest earners: 42 percent of Republicans said they would favor a tax increase for that group, while 46 percent said they would oppose it.

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from Feb. 15-24 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points. Numbers in charts might not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.

The University of Texas has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.