Texans Down on Cruz

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new Texas poll finds that Ted Cruz has become unpopular in the state, and he could be in trouble for winning the Republican nomination in 2018. Overall only 39% of voters in the state approve of the job Cruz is doing, to 48% who disapprove. It was already clear from national polling that Donald Trump had come out ahead in his feud at the GOP convention with Cruz, but we find that even in Texas 52% of Republicans now say that they prefer Trump as their nominee this year to only 38% who would go with Cruz.

The skirmish with Trump seems to be contributing to an overall weakening of Cruz’s position with Republicans in the state. Only 50% of GOP voters say they’d like Cruz to be their Senate candidate again in 2 years, to 43% who say they would prefer someone else. He hovers right around that 50% mark in hypothetical match ups against both Michael McCaul (51/19) and Dan Patrick (49/27). Against Rick Perry though, who shares Cruz’s universal name recognition, Cruz faces a 9 point deficit at 46/37. 

One place it looks like Cruz would not face as much trouble is the general election. He would lead Julian Castro 48/36 and Wendy Davis 49/37 in hypothetical match ups. Those margins for Cruz pale in comparison to Greg Abbott’s standing with voters though. Abbott is proving to be quite a popular Governor- 54% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 30% who disapprove- and he would lead hypothetical contests against Castro and Davis 57/28 and 57/32 respectively. The fact that Cruz leads by 12 points and Abbott by 25-29 points in the same sample where Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by only 6 points is a pretty strong commentary on Trump’s weakness as a candidate.

The opinions of Texans show the extent to which a number of progressive policy goals have reached incredibly mainstream popularity, even in a state as traditionally conservative as Texas:

-89% of voters in the state support background checks on all gun purchases, to only 7% who oppose them. They’re supported by 94% of Democrats, 91% of Republicans, and 80% of independents.

-83% of voters in the state support barring those on the Terror Watch List from buying guns, to only 10% who are opposed. That’s supported by 85% of Republicans, and 82% of both Democrats and independents.

-Voters in the state support an assault weapons ban, 48/43. That’s because Democrats are far more unified in their support for one (70/21) than Republicans are in their opposition to it (34/55).

-72% of voters in the state support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, compared to only 14% who think it’s fine where it is now, and 11% who would like to eliminate the minimum wage altogether. A minimum wage hike to at least $10 gets support from 94% of Democrats, 74% of independents, and 53% of Republicans.

-63% of voters in the state support holding confirmation hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, to only 18% who are opposed to them. 73% of Democrats, 63% of independents, and even 55% of Republicans support moving Garland’s nomination forward by holding those hearings.

Finally we covered some sports issues:

-Texas leads the state in college sports loyalty with 26% to 16% for Texas A&M, 12% for Houston, 9% for Texas Tech, and 6% each for Baylor and Texas Christian. Both Longhorn fans (36/9 approval for Charlie Strong) and Aggie fans (38/9 approval for Kevin Sumlin) give pretty limited support to their coaches- there aren’t that many totally unhappy with them but there aren’t too many thrilled with them either. 43% of voters in the state support allowing Houston to join the Big 12 to only 7% who are opposed to that. What’s maybe more interesting though is how fans in the state’s existing Big 12 fan bases feel about adding Houston- Texas fans support it 47/5, Texas Tech fans support it 56/10, Baylor fans support it 67/3, and TCU fans support it 65/1. It’s safe to say there’s not much resistance at least from the fans of rival schools for letting the Cougars in.

-Cowboys fans outnumbers Texans fans in the state 46/33. Tony Romo has a 39/24 favorability rating in the state but voters aren’t too impressed with his football skills. Only 30% think he is a elite Quarterback to 35% who say he is not elite and 35% who are not sure. We also asked who people think would do the best job at QB for the Cowboys in the year 2016 and only 28% picked Romo to 27% who picked Troy Aikman (who’s 49 years old) and 19% who picked Roger Staubach (who’s 74 years old). 

-The Rangers win out on baseball loyalties 44/31. Jeff Bannister has a 31/5 approval spread with Rangers fans, while AJ Hinch is at 30/8 with Astros fans.

Full results here

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