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About two months after the approval of the Texas legislaturenew voting restrictions in law, about a third of voters in the state believe the voting rules here should be stricter, according to a new poll from the University of Texas / Texas Tribune.
In that October poll, 34% of voters said those rules should be stricter, while 29% said they should stay the same and 29% said the rules should be less stringent. Eight percent said they didn’t know or didn’t have an opinion.
These numbers are similar to what voters said about it in an August UT / TT poll, with 39% saying the rules should be stricter, with 30% saying they should stay as they are. are now, 24% saying they wanted less strict rules and 8% saying they didn’t know or had no opinion.
In September, Gov. Greg Abbott enacted sweeping legislation that further strengthens the state’s election laws, such as banning drive-thru voting and tightening postal voting rules. The bill, designated as a priority by Republicans, was passed by the Texas Legislature after months of clashes between lawmakers. Most Texas House Democrats have fled the state for weeks to break the quorum and prevent the proposal from passing.
While Republicans pushed the legislation as an attempt to add much-needed safeguards to the state’s electoral system, Democrats and voter advocacy groups called it a proposal that could hurt voters of color by creating elections. additional obstacles to voting. On Thursday, the US Department of Justice sued Texas, saying it would “deny the right to vote to eligible Texas citizens who seek to exercise their right to vote.”
The October poll found that the percentage of Democrats who said voting rules should be less stringent increased significantly, with 64% of voters taking the stance compared to 51% in August. Meanwhile, the number of Republicans who think the rules should be tougher rose from 67% in August to 56% in October.
“This is an area where the nationalization of politics has really crept in,” said James Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.
The University of Texas / Texas Tribune’s Internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted October 22-31 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points.
Meanwhile, most Texas voters, 53%, said they did not think the state’s “electoral system discriminates against racial and ethnic minorities,” while 37% said they did. These numbers have remained largely the same compared to polls conducted from October 2017 to August. A majority of white voters and a plurality of Hispanic voters said the system does not discriminate, while a majority of black voters said it does.
“The idea that a political debate that takes place largely in the Texas Capitol around a bunch of election laws that are technical and fairly procedural is going to fundamentally change people’s perspectives on state-sponsored discrimination is a demand. quite heavy, ”said Joshua Blank. , research director for the Texas Politics Project. “In the end, it doesn’t seem like it really changed attitudes on a fundamental level.”
Voters in Texas are also generally more confident in the official Texas election results than they are in the United States. the results were very accurate and 23% said they were fairly accurate. There was also a gap between voters who used very inaccurate results to characterize the Texas results, 3%, and the US results, 19%.
Last month, lawmakers passed new political maps for the state Congress, House and Senate, and the State Board of Education based on new demographics from the latest census. These numbers showed that people of color have fueled 95% of the state’s population growth over the past decade, although Republicans have drawn the cards to strengthen their grip on area diversification across the state. .
Legal challenges are already playing out on these new maps, so the proposed political boundaries could change. In recent months, however, there has been an increase in the number of voters who have said they are following the redistribution debate.
Sixty-six percent of voters said they had heard a lot or somewhat about this year’s redistribution process in Texas, compared with 49% who said the same thing in August. Meanwhile, 35% of voters said they had heard little or not at all about the process, down from the 50% who said the same thing in August.
The increase was largely due to Democrats, who said 37% and 36% said they had heard a lot or a lot about the redistribution process. Republicans, meanwhile, had 18% and 46% in those same camps. The two parties had roughly the same percentage of voters – 15% for Democrats and 17% for Republicans – who had heard nothing at all about the process.
“Usually, redistribution is a trivial activity for most people,” Blank said. “But what’s going to make it very important is the coverage of it and the perceived – or real – partisan advantages and disadvantages that have arisen from that process.”
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has financially supported The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, non-partisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial support plays no role in the journalism of the Tribune. Find a full list of them here.