The election is six weeks away, but if registered Texans had to vote now, most would choose Donald Trump. The margin is narrow, though.
Thirty-nine percent support Trump, while 32 percent are in favor of Hillary Clinton. But 14 percent of Texas voters haven’t thought about the election or just don’t know.
That’s according to the 10th annual Texas Lyceum Poll released Wednesday. The poll included 1,000 Texans surveyed Sept. 1-11. It not only measures where Texans stand on the election, but also what they think are the most important issues facing the state and which government leaders would best address them.
First, let’s see what the demographics of the poll participants look like. Next, we’ll look at the Texans and the election. Then, the major issues: voter ID, healthcare, immigration and more.
Who was polled?
Of the 1,000 Texans who participated in the poll, more than half were women. Forty-six percent were white; 36 percent were Hispanic and 12 percent were African-American. The age bracket was dominated by older adults (45-64); just under a third were ages 30-44.
When asked their political leaning, 40 percent identified as conservative, 33 percent as moderate and 23 percent as liberal. Of those polled, 41 percent of respondents considered themselves Democratic; 38 percent say they were Republican and 21 percent marked independent.
Other demographics of poll participants:
32 percent have graduated from college.
38 percent say they lived in suburban areas.
More than half (56 percent) were married, and just over half (51 percent) didn’t have children living with them.
22 percent earned between $75,000 and $150,000 in 2012.
Only 8 percent of Texans didn’t have a religious denomination. The largest group (32 percent) were Catholic, followed by “other Christian” at 31 percent.
What do Texans think about the presidential election?
Nearly 90 percent of Texans polled say they are registered to vote and most say they are extremely or somewhat interested in politics and public affairs. Regarding the past few elections, nearly a third say they voted in every election and about another third say they voted in almost every election. Twenty percent say they didn’t vote at all.
— KERA News (@keranews) September 7, 2016
As of early September, 39 percent of those polled would vote for Trump and 32 percent would vote for Clinton. As for Congress and the Texas State House, most of those polled would choose the Republican candidate.
What do Texans think about the issues facing the state?
Texans say the most important issue facing the state is immigration. Fifty-four percent of respondents say immigration helps the U.S. more than it hurts. Also, most (59 percent) would oppose a border wall — a centerpiece to Trump’s Republican presidential campaign —to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico.
Refugees from Syria and other war-stricken countries in the Middle East are another immigrant group in Texas. More than half of Texans polled (51 percent) oppose a ban on immigration of people from countries where “there has been a history of terrorism against the West.” Texas resettled 2,677 Syrian refugees between October 2015 and March 2016, the most of any state, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
— KERA (@keratx) September 15, 2016
Seventy-four percent of those polled say voters should present a government-issued photo ID at the polls before voting. In July, a federal appeals court ruled Texas’ 2011 voter ID law was unconstitutional. The law requires most citizens to show one of a handful of types of identification before their ballots can be counted: a state driver's license or ID card, a concealed handgun license, a U.S. passport, a military ID card or a U.S citizenship certificate with a photo, the Texas Tribune reports.
The federal government recently accused Texas of circulating “inaccurate or misleading information” to poll workers and would-be voters about relaxed identification requirements for the November elections.
Justice Department: New Texas Voter ID Rules Are Misleading To Voters https://t.co/3wTRROJCN4
— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) September 10, 2016
More than half (54 percent) say transgender students should use public school facilities that match their gender at birth. In April, the Fort Worth Independent School District issued new guidelines for transgender students. An example: Let them use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, not their birth gender.
Soon after, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick held a press conference in Fort Worth decrying the guidelines. In May, President Obama issued a federal directive for public schools to accommodate transgender students. Then, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit on behalf of Texas and 12 other states against the Obama administration in the same month. In August, a federal judge temporarily blocked the federal directive, The Dallas Morning News reports.
— Amber Briggle (@mrsbriggle) September 3, 2016
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act allows states to expand Medicaid to provide health insurance to more low-income, uninsured adults. The federal government would subsidize this expansion initially, after which Texas taxpayers would have to pay for the expanded coverage. Almost half (49 percent) of respondents say the state should keep Medicaid “as is” and 42 percent say to expand it.
Texas is one of 19 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid, and despite the number of uninsured falling, the state still has the largest number (4.6 million) of uninsured people in the country, according to the Texas Tribune. Recently, the Obama administration agreed to temporarily keep some federal Medicaid money flowing into Texas to help hospitals treat uninsured patients, the Texas Tribune reports. The agreement temporarily extends what was supposed to be a temporary program that hospitals have relied on for five years to serve poor, uninsured Texans.
— Edgar Walters (@ewaltersTX) September 13, 2016
Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have had power struggles with various cities that have tried to regulate them with background checks and fingerprinting. Such disputes resulted in Uber and Lyft leaving Austin in May.
Most Texans polled, however, only knew “a little” about the issue. Regardless, most think ride-sharing companies should be required to follow the same rules and regulations as taxis. Regulations of ride-sharing companies should be determined at the city-level, according to the poll.
— Daniel Sheppard (@DanielShepTX) September 5, 2016
To see what Texans think about Gov. Greg Abbott’s performance, Attorney General Ken Paxton’s favorability and the general state of the U.S., explore the entire poll results here.