Politics

Graphic by Todd Wiseman

A Wave or a Tsunami?

A surge in Republican enthusiasm nationwide has the GOP hopeful about taking back the U.S. House and, maybe, the U.S. Senate in November. In Texas, that high tide has turned a handful of what are usually considered safe Democratic House seats into live targets. Ben Philpott of KUT and the Tribune reports.

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A Likely Story

You can ask all the right questions in a political poll and still get a wrong answer. The results are based not only on how people answer the questions but on a pollster's educated guess about who'll vote and who won't.

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman/Kiet Callies

Interactive: Government Unlimited

Legislative filings increased in the Texas House and Senate by 70 percent from 1991 to 2009, records show, and the number of bills and resolutions passed by both chambers climbed at a higher rate. Resolutions alone numbered about 4,000 last session, or more than half of all legislation. Explore our interactive graphics.

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Graphic by Todd Wiseman

Cutting School

The Texas Education Agency has submitted a proposal to slash 10 percent of its budget to help close the state's coming shortfall, which could be as much as $21 billion. Among the items on the chopping block: outside-the-classroom expenditures that, Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, could have a dramatic affect on student outcomes.

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Texas Weekly's Hot List, Vol. 3

Our latest look at the most competitive races on the Texas congressional and legislative ballots notes the withdrawal of the Libertarian from the HD-78 contest, which is now a major-party-only affair, and the emergence of a previously dormant PAC on the GOP side in HD-45. The former has been upgraded to Orange; the latter remains Yellow for the moment.

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The Polling Center: Another View of Those Undecideds

Six points separate Rick Perry and Bill White, but that's not all there is to it: The pattern of partisan preferences evident in the latest polling suggests that the Republican Party still holds a substantial baseline advantage over the Democrats in Texas.

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Fail to the Chief

Nearly as many Texans believe Barack Obama is a Muslim as approve of his performance as president, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

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The Weekly TribCast: Episode 46

In our first TribCast recorded in front of a live studio audience, Evan, Ross, Elise and Ben discuss the results of the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, Gov. Rick Perry's new TV ad and the state's looming budget deficit — is it even bigger than we thought?

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Beyond the Bake Sale

With or without the controversial federal education funding that would come with Texas-specific strings attached, many of the state's school districts are preparing for tough budgetary times ahead — and they're getting creative about potential solutions. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.

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Mind the Gap

Texas lawmakers will have their hands full filling a budget hole in 2011 of $18 billion or more, but the projected shortfall is great political fodder for candidates of both parties in 2010. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.

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Texas Weekly's Hot List, Vol. 2

Our latest look at the most competitive races on the Texas congressional and legislative ballots now includes five more contests, each with Democratic incumbents. If GOP exuberance turns out to be rational, these seats could be in play. Only one race changes categories this week: CD-23, which was Red last week but has been downgraded to Orange.

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Perry by 6 in Volatile Race

Gov. Rick Perry leads Bill White 39 percent to 33 percent in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, whose most interesting finding is a restless electorate dissatisfied with conventional choices up and down the ballot. In the governor's race, 22 percent of respondents said they were undecided about which candidate to support with only seven weeks to go in the fall campaign. Third-party candidates are capturing enough of the vote to affect the outcomes of some statewide contests. And 31 percent of respondents — nearly one in three Texans — consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement.

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Illustration by Todd Wiseman

Accountability U.

Like a conglomerate auditing balance sheets, the Texas A&M University System has for six months been dissecting the financial contribution of every faculty member on its 11 campuses around the state, subtracting the salary of each from the tuition and research money he or she brings in. The resulting metrics present in stark detail exactly where the system gets the most and least bang for its payroll buck — and have raised the hackles of professors at all levels, who liken the approach to grading assembly-line workers on widget production.

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The Weekly TribCast: Episode 45

In this week's TribCast, the regular podcast gang is back to talk about the start of campaign season, the latest polls in the race for governor, and the political effect of that $18 billion budget hole.

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James Henson/UT

2010: Poll-Land

A new political survey says Gov. Rick Perry is beating Democrat Bill White in the governor's race, but also shows the incumbent is unpopular with half of likely Texas voters and that the same percentage of voters support a two-term limit for governors.

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Is the Governor's Race Really Tied?

A poll released Tuesday shows the Texas governor's race in a virtual dead heat. Conducted by the GOP firm Hill Research Consultants, it has Rick Perry leading Bill White 42 percent to 41 percent, with 14 percent undecided. Other polls this summer, however, have shown the governor with a much larger lead. Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports.

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2010: A Dead Heat?

And now for something completely different: Rick Perry and Bill White are virtually tied in the race for governor, according to a poll done for Texas Watch by Republican pollster Hill Research Consultants.

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