LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD
New poll shows Texans’ bipartisan support for improving school safety
A majority of Texans are in favor of making school safety a top priority for the Legislature, while other political issues remain heavily divided among voters. That’s according to a new University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll.
The poll examined Texans’ beliefs about guns, gambling, marijuana, immigration, and more. All of these topics are going to be addressed in the current legislative session, and the general category is a special focus for the SXSW EDU 2023.
School safety was the only education issue that was declared “extremely important” by Texans in the poll. Texas Politics Project co-director James Henson says though there is an element of bipartisan support among voters for improving school safety, there are still plenty of partisan divisions in other areas of public education.
“Among Republicans, for example, school safety is effectively tied with curriculum content as the top priority, while among Democrats school safety is similarly tied with teacher pay and retention,” he shared in a press release.
On the topic of abortion, the poll found 79 percent of Democrats said abortion laws should be made less strict, while a majority of Republicans support current laws. A third of Republicans in the poll want even stricter abortion laws.
“As one might expect, Democrats are more concerned about abortion and more likely to want an expansion of abortion rights,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the Texas Politics Project and the Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Chair of State Politics. “But it is also worth noting that this issue isn’t as salient as many have assumed: Fewer than five percent of Texans consider abortion the most important issue facing the state.”
Gun regulation is another hot topic surveyed in the poll. Half of Texans said gun laws should be more strict, with less than a third saying they are fine as is, and 16 percent of pollsters in favor of a relaxation of the laws. A slight majority of Republicans in the poll (51 percent) want gun laws unchanged, while 79 percent of Democrats overwhelmingly voted for stricter laws.
Joshua Blank, research director of the Texas Politics Project, says gun regulation is a good demonstration of how Texans are reacting to “high profile incidents of mass violence” as well as the government’s response to those events.
“Taken in this context, it’s not surprising to see a majority of Texans and the vast majority of Democrats asking for stronger gun laws, nor that a majority of Republican voters appears to have lost their appetite for looser gun laws.”
Other findings from the poll include:
- Texas Democrats are more supportive of the United States’ involvement in Ukraine defense than Republicans. The overall results showed 32 percent of Texans say the U.S. is doing enough in response to the Russian invasion, while 30 percent believe the U.S. is doing too much and 21 percent think too little is being done.
- 51 percent of Texans want less strict marijuana laws, with 22 percent in favor of stricter laws, and 15 percent saying they should be left alone.
- 46 percent of Texas Democrats say President Biden should run for reelection, which is a four percent increase in comparison to an August 2022 poll.
- 56 percent of Republicans think Former President Donald Trump should run in 2024, a result that is down 5 percent from the August 2022 poll.
The poll’s full results and methodology can be found on the Texas Politics Project website.