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UT Tyler Center for Opinion Research Releases Statewide Polling Results

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March 6, 2019

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
Senior Director of Media Relations
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.566.7303

The University of Texas at Tyler announced today that its recent opinion poll revealed that several weeks after a lengthy government shutdown over funding for a border wall, a plurality of Texans believe it is necessary to build a wall along the Texas-Mexico border.

When asked whether they agree or disagree that a wall along the Texas-Mexico border is "necessary for a safe border," 48 percent of respondents either "agreed" or "strongly agreed," while 41 percent either "disagreed" or "strongly disagreed" (11 percent took a neutral position).

The question elicited stark responses along partisan lines, where Democrats strongly disagreed (56 percent) nearly as much as Republicans strongly agreed (64 percent) with the statement.

The poll was conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at UT Tyler over a two-week period beginning Feb. 11, said Dr. Mark Owens, assistant professor of political science.

In a state that approved of President Donald Trump by +1 percent in the October 2018 COR survey (45 percent approval and 44 percent disapproval), Texans have shifted on their assessment of President Trump's job performance, according to polling results. "Our results find that the president's approval rating now stands at 42 percent approval and 53 percent disapproval among registered voters,'' Owens said.

Senator John Cornyn, heading into the 2020 re-election cycle, is at 36 percent approval, with 27 percent disapproving and 37 percent answering "don't know." His recently re-elected junior colleague, Ted Cruz, has a 42 percent approval rating, with 45 percent disapproving of his job performance.

On policy priorities, when asked whether they trust the state or city to control the local property tax rate, 41 percent of respondents preferred their city government to the state government (33 percent), though nearly a third of Texans chose "neither" (27 percent).

Related to the Texas Senate's passage of SB3 to increase teacher pay, respondents ranked their top priorities pertaining to K-12 education. Consistent with the vote by the Texas Committee on Finance, "teacher salaries" was the top choice, followed by "safer school buildings," "technology in the classroom" and "counseling for students."

All respondents also were asked to identify, based on the candidates who have officially announced their intention to run for president (plus former-Rep. Beto O'Rourke), who they are most likely to support: 38 percent chose President Trump, 3 percent selected Julian Castro and 22 percent identified Beto O'Rourke. No other candidate received more than 4 percent, while 27 percent of respondents are undecided, Owens said.

Methodology

Telephone
The UT Tyler-Texas Opinion Survey was conducted by telephone using live callers Feb. 11 – 24 with a scientifically selected random target sample (provided by the firm Survey Sampling International) of 5,600 Texas registered voters, 18 or older. During a two-week period, 40 students called these registered voters on landlines and cell phones. The overall response rate was 9 percent, with a cooperation rate of 42 percent. This allowed COR to generate a sample of 352 registered voters by phone.

Online
The UT Tyler-Texas Opinion Survey poll was also conducted using a Survey Sampling International panel of registered voters that opt-in to take surveys. This is known as Aristotle. The online panel generated a sample of 697 registered voters. The data were weighted to be representative of Texas adults. The weighting balanced sample demographics to population parameters.

The sample is balanced to match parameters for gender, age, race/ethnicity and education through an iterated process known as raking. These parameters were derived from 2016 Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Tables. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the characteristics of the sample closely reflect the characteristics of registered voters in Texas. In this poll, the sampling error for 1,049 registered voters in Texas is +/- 3.03 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval.

A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered. With more than 10,000 students, UT Tyler has facilities in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.

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