Leadership issues top the list of most important problems facing the country today, and immigration and border security continue to top the list of issues facing the state, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
Political corruption/leadership (15%) and presidential impeachment (6%) top the national list, driven by responses from Democrats, who are out of power in the White House and the U.S. Senate. Immigration (11%) and border security (9%) were close behind, driven by Republican voters who rank those issues highest.
Health care was next on the Democrats’ list. For Republican voters, moral decline and political corruption/leadership came next.
“Mood is really polarized,” said Daron Shaw, a University of Texas at Austin government professor and co-director of the poll. And he noticed some persistent issues below the topmost ones. “The health care issue is interesting. Most of the pressure for health care reform is coming from the side that got health care into law.”
At the state level, immigration and border security, which combined for 34% of the top choices, led the list. But gun control/violence, which 8% of voters ranked as the most important issue, climbed into the third position.
More Texas voters say the U.S. is on the wrong track than say things are going in the right direction. For the state, it’s brighter: More say Texas is going in the right direction.
Among women, only 30% say the country is on the right track, while 49% of men say so. And slightly less than half of men say the country is on the wrong track; 58% of women think the same. The differences are heightened by partisanship: Only 8% of Democrats say the U.S. is on the right track, and 65% of Republicans say so. White voters are split: 44% right track, 48% wrong track. Black (15%-75%) and Hispanic voters (30%-57%) were much less satisfied with the direction of the country.
Some of the same differences crop up when the subject is the direction of Texas, though they are less pronounced. Overall, 47% say the state is going in the right direction, a position taken by 20% of Democrats and 75% of Republicans, 41% of women and 55% of men. And while 55% of white voters share that view, only 31% of black voters and 38% of Hispanic voters do.
“People’s assessments of state and country are increasingly about their own political views — and about who’s in charge of the state and the country,” said James Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin.
Less than a quarter of voters say the economy is worse than a year ago for the country (24%), for the state (18%), or for their own families (16%). More than two of every five voters says things are better than a year ago, for the country (45%), the state (40%) and their families (42%).
The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from October 18 to October 27 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points, and an overall margin of error of +/- 4.21 percentage points for Democratic trial ballots. Numbers in charts might not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.
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