With Texas primary elections looming on March 1, Texans are nearly evenly split over the direction of the Lone Star state, according to a poll released on Feb. 21.
The state’s political climate is slightly more positive towards Republicans, the Dallas Morning News/University of Texas at Tyler poll shows.
Half of the 1,188 respondents (50 percent), all registered voters, believe the state overall is going in the right direction, while 49 percent indicated the state was on the “wrong track.” One percent said “neither.”
Meanwhile, 70 percent of all respondents expressed they were “very confident” or “somewhat confident” that the Texas primaries, the nation’s earliest, would be conducted “fairly or accurately.”
The governor’s primary numbers show incumbent Republican Greg Abbott supported by 60 percent of Republicans and his nearest primary challengers at 7 and 6 percent. His current 50 percent approval rating in February rose from 45 percent in September.
Poll results of the impressions Beto O’Rourke has made on voters showed 43 percent of Democrats thought very favorably of him and 32 percent somewhat favorable, with 30 percent of independent voters favorable. His nearest primary challenger received 4 percent of respondents.
“Beto, for sure,” said Democrat Elvia Rios, 73, of Hidalgo County who voted early. “His policies are going to offer parity and opportunity to the children of poorer counties.”
Analysis breakdowns in the poll also feature Latino, black, and white, percentages, while questions on abortion included breakdowns of Catholic, evangelicals, and married respondents.
Direction of Texas
When it came to trusting in government, however, deeper divisive outcomes were revealed on questions of education, the pandemic, and abortion, with respondents moving mostly along party lines.
The question, “Focusing on Texas, do you think that things are headed in the right direction, or do you think that things are headed off on the wrong track?” split the parties.
Of 394 Democrats polled, 44 percent chose the “right direction” response, while 56 percent chose the “wrong track.”
Of 480 republicans polled, 62 percent said the state was going in the right direction, while 38 percent responded with the “wrong track.”
Views on Education
Asked “What party do you trust more on education in Texas,” combined numbers indicate that, overall, 51 percent of respondents trusted Republicans with Texas education, with 46 percent trusting Democrats.
Just five percent of Democrats polled indicated they trust Republicans while 93 percent trust other Democrats, with 2 percent choosing “other”.
“School budgets are based on property taxes and poorer counties have lower expenditures per pupil,” said Rios. “The kids should not be penalized for where they live.”
Conversely, 90 percent of 477 Republican respondents trusted their own party, with 10 percent trusting Democrats.
Republican Suzanne Levy is a former member of the Tyler Literary Council and said, “To lead education I would choose the Republicans. Generally speaking, Republicans believe in teaching children to speak clearly.
“They believe words have meaning and I feel Democrats manipulate words and promote Marxist values, such as critical theory on race and sexual anarchy.
“Conservatives and Republicans would teach historical truth, good literacy, and prestige character.”
Independent voter Suzanne Williams, 37, is a mother of two children under 5 years old and lives in Lindale, Texas.
She chose “other” when it came to trusting in education. She is formerly a deaf interpreter in Smith County public schools and a registered member of the Caddo Indian Nation.
Much of Texas is the original homeland of the Caddos, until they were driven out to Oklahoma in the 1800s.
“I don’t trust either party with the education system in Texas,” she said.
“Until they admit that Texas history is not squeaky clean and there were faults and flaws in the past—and I just don’t mean to the original peoples here, but to Hispanics, and blacks, as well—I’ll remain skeptical.”
Safety concerns during the pandemic were also lopsided, with 89 percent of Republicans trusting their own, and 90 percent of Democrats having faith in their party.
Combined results of all respondents show that overall 51 percent trust Republicans, 46 percent the Democrats, with 3 percent choosing “other.”
“What party do you trust more to help keep your community safe during the coronavirus pandemic?” the poll asked.
Democrat Vicki Maxwell, a retired physician’s assistant in Temple, Texas, doesn’t feel she has enough information to make an informed decision.
“This is not such a simple question. We live, pretty much, in a medical town and everyone very much knows the problems with Covid and we’ve had friends who died from it, so people voluntarily wear their masks.
“But go 15 miles down the road and there are Texans with a different view. They are very anti-mask.
“So, in the last year, the town [near Temple] that has not taken precautions has had many more [Covid] cases in the schools than we’ve had in our town. But it’s impossible to say if Democrats can be trusted more than Republicans on issues because there are so few Democrats in power. We basically live in a one-party state.”
Maxwell and her husband were just going over the primary ballots on Feb. 21, and had not made any concrete decisions, she said.
Republican Angela Wright, 56, has been a registered nurse for 30 years working in the Houston area and is currently living in Lindale, Texas.
She said she has been in legal battles with drug companies in the past.
”To be honest I don’t trust either party. In my years as a nurse, I’ve seen severe reactions to vaccines even in my own family in the past. I’ve known since the 1970s and 1980s that pharmaceutical companies are not telling the truth about everything, so I don’t really trust either party if they are tied to big pharmaceutical companies.
“When you see nurses willing to be fired instead of taking a vaccine, there is an issue there that concerns me. I don’t feel like I’m getting the complete truth from any place, but I lean towards trusting Republicans more.”
Asked “Should the Supreme Court overturn its Roe v. Wade decision and allow states to decided abortion policy,” a combined total of 50 percent of respondents said, “No, it should not be overturned”.
Forty-seven percent chose “Yes, it should be overturned.” Three percent indicated “Don’t know,” with 1,187 people answering.
In the poll, 34 percent of Democrats favored the overturn of Roe V. Wade, while 65 percent were not, with percent undecided; while 63 percent of Republicans favored an overturn, with 34 percent against, and 4 percent undecided.
Republican Shirley Alman, 91, from Garden Valley, Texas, spent 20 years with her husband as the International Director of Hispanic Ministries for Youth With A Mission, living in Columbia, Chile, and Argentina.
She and her husband, Wedge, visited and worked in 60 countries on six continents, and she still teaches in Spanish, via Zoom.
“I’m definitely in favor of that [overturning Roe v. Wade]. Abortion goes against everything I believe and stand for, the sanctity of life, the God-given gift that we have.”
Asked by the Epoch Times if she would favor an abortion if the mother’s life was in danger, she said, “That’s a tough one, and I think it would have to be taken on a case-by-case basis, but I would lean toward saving the mother’s life.”
Democrat Vicki Maxwell is not in favor of the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
“I just believe women should have a choice, but there are many different things that enter into it, such as the health of the mother, whether a woman was raped or not. I think this is a very complex question and not so easily answered.”
Republican Angela Wright said, “I’ve worked in labor and delivery for 15 years and delivered thousands of babies.
“In all that time I’ve never seen the health of the mother in grave danger, and if there was a problem, it was usually cured by delivering the baby, not killing it. There is a human being in there.”
A breakdown of the respondents on the abortion question indicated 44 percent of Latinos, 42 percent of women, 49 percent of Catholics, and 65 percent of white evangelicals, favored an overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Black respondents were not identified in the poll’s analysis.
Of 600 married respondents, 51 percent were in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, 45 percent were not, with 4 percent undecided.
A call by The Epoch Times to the Dallas County Democratic Party Headquarters on Feb. 21 for comment, was received by a party worker but not returned by an official spokesperson.