In the minds of Texas voters — and conservative voters in particular — immigration and border security remain the top issues facing the state, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
The survey was completed just before early voting began, and just as a northbound caravan of asylum seekers from Central America marched into the national political conversation.
Conservative voters are driving those numbers: 61 percent of Republicans put one of those topics at the top of their lists; among Democrats, only 11 percent did so. The top two items for Democrats were political corruption/leadership (17 percent) and health care (15 percent).
The most important problems facing the country? Overall, Texas voters picked political corruption/leadership as the top item, followed by immigration and health care. That first one was the top pick of 29 percent of Democratic respondents, followed by health care. But the top picks of Republicans for most important national problems matched their picks for state problems: Immigration (20 percent) and border security (15 percent).
On a range of issues from health care to abortion to federal tax cuts, Texans are easily sorted by their partisan identities.
Most Texas voters — 58 percent — said they were either “not very” or “not at all” satisfied with the health care system in the U.S., while 35 percent said they were “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with it.
Republicans are happier than Democrats with the state of health care. Fifty-four percent of Republicans said they were satisfied, and 41 percent said they were not. Among Democrats, only 18 percent said they were satisfied, and 76 percent said they were not.
Fifteen percent of Texas voters believe abortion should never be allowed. Another 29 percent would allow it only in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger. Twelve percent said abortion should be permitted for other reasons “after the need for an abortion has been clearly established.” And 39 percent of voters agreed that “a woman should always be able to obtain an abortion as a matter of personal choice.”
Republican voters were more restrictive, with 25 percent saying abortion should never be allowed and 43 percent saying it should only be allowed in cases of rape, incest and when it would save the mother’s life. Among Democrats, 64 percent supported unrestricted access to abortion as a personal choice and 10 percent more would allow it in any case of a “clearly established” need.
Women were more permissive than men when it comes to abortion, with 54 percent saying it should be available as a personal choice or allowed in those “clearly established” instances, and 41 percent saying either that it should never be allowed (15 percent) or allowed only under those three exceptions (26 percent). Forty-eight percent of men would allow abortions with few or no restrictions, while 46 percent would either prohibit it (14 percent) or allow it only in exceptional cases (32 percent).
Did last year’s federal tax cuts trickle down? Fifty-two percent of Texas voters said they have not “noticed an increase in your paycheck as a result of the new tax law” passed at the end of 2017. Another 31 percent said they have noticed an impact. Among Democrats, 11 percent said the tax cuts were visible and 77 percent said they were not. Among Republicans, 50 percent said they’d seen the benefits and 32 percent said they had not.
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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.