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From Marijuana Use To Same-Sex Marriage, Texans Sound Off In Texas Lyceum Poll

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
KUT News
After 15 years together, Darin Upchurch, left, and Ted Burton were married in June at the Travis County Courthouse.

How do Texans feel about marijuana use? Immigration? Same-sex marriage? A new Texas Lyceum poll highlights Texans’ thoughts on a number of these hot-button issues.

Tuesday at 1 p.m. on KERA’s Think, Krys Boyd talks with Jenifer Sarver and Daron Shaw, who oversaw the poll. (All this week, Think is broadcasting from Austin.) 

About the poll

The poll was conducted Sept. 8-21 by the Lyceum, a nonpartisan, nonprofit statewide leadership group. The poll, which includes 1,000 Texas adults, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Texas Lyceum passes on some highlights:


Immigration continues to be an important issue facing the state, the Texas Lyceum says. Texans support lawmakers’ increased spending on border security. A majority of those surveyed – 62 percent – favor state lawmakers’ approval to spend $800 million on border security operations. And 65 percent approve of the federal government’s decision to halt deportations of undocumented youth who are college students or serve in the military.

Same-Sex Marriage

The poll shows 49 percent of Texans favor gay marriage, up from 33 percent in 2011. But 40 percent are opposed to allowing same-sex couples the right to marry legally.


The Lyceum survey shows 50 percent of Texans oppose legalizing marijuana, while 46 percent are in support. That’s up by 13 percentage points compared to the 2011 poll. But for those who oppose legalizing marijuana, 57 percent said they would support decriminalization.

Racial Discrimination

Of those surveyed, 17 percent believed they faced police discrimination because of their racial or ethnic background – but the numbers vary depending on the person’s skin color. Four percent of whites felt they had faced police discrimination, compared to 24 percent of Hispanics and 45 percent of blacks.


Only 21 percent of those surveyed say they would discourage kids from playing football – 72 percent would encourage children.

Global Warming

Of those surveyed, 50 percent say they worry “only a little” or “not at all” about climate change. But 67 percent say they would support Congress passing legislation that would “regulate energy output from private companies in an attempt to reduce global warming.”

The State Of The Economy

About one-third of respondents say the national economy is worse than last year, but 31 percent say the national economy is better.

Governor Job Approval

Among likely voters, 56 percent approve of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s job performance.

The 2016 Presidential Race

Among registered voters, 21 percent of respondents support Donald Trump for president; 16 percent support U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz; 12 percent support Dr. Ben Carson; and 10 percent support former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, 36 percent support Hillary Clinton; 24 percent support U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders; and 15 percent support Vice President Joe Biden.

Learn more

Explore the poll here.

This week on Think

Here’s a look at what else is coming up this week on Think from Austin.