New WFAA/THPF Poll: More than half of Texans think state is headed in wrong direction

Part 2 of our three-part survey also shows how likely Texas voters feel about border policies, abortion access and authorities’ responses to the Uvalde tragedy

TEXAS, USA — Less than six weeks before the midterm election, a new poll shows that a majority of Texans are not feeling good about the direction of their state — or their country.

“Texas Decides” is a joint effort between the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (THPF) and TEGNA Texas stations WFAA, KHOU, KENS and KVUE. It draws on a survey of 1,172 likely Texas voters that was taken between September 6, 2022, and September 15, 2022. It has a confidence interval of +/- 2.9%. The report reviewed the vote intention for the November 2022 Texas elections.

The election will be held November 8.  Early voting starts October 24.  

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This second of three reports on “Texas Decides” takes a look at culture war issues. Part 1 took a look at how Texans planned to cast their votes in individual races come November.

Is Texas headed in the right direction? What about the country?

Most notably, this latest report finds that 53% of likely Texas voters believe that the state is headed in the wrong direction — a bit of a surprising reveal considering that the first report released from this survey showed that Republican incumbents enjoy leads over their challengers in every single statewide race.  

Breaking that question down by party lines, however, goes a long way toward explaining that: While just 23% of Republicans think Texas is headed in the wrong direction, 78% of Democrats think that’s the case.

En español: Aquí todo lo que necesita saber sobre la elección de noviembre en el norte de Texas

But these opinions aren’t just limited to Texas. In fact, 73% of likely Texas voters surveyed in this poll believe the United States is also headed in the wrong direction. 

This opinion rings true across a swath of racial groups — 77% of likely white voters, 68% of likely Hispanic voters and 55% of likely Black voters in Texas believe the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction.

Are Abbott’s border policies working?

Zooming out even farther, the poll reveals that an absolute majority of likely Texas voters support the six border policies implemented by Governor Greg Abbott.

Here’s a breakdown of that support. 

  • 66% of likely Texas voters support the arrest of people who cross the border illegally.
  • 60% support the state deploying the Texas National Guard to patrol the border.
  • 60% support the state sending the Texas Department of Public Safety to patrol the border.
  • 57% support Texas building a border wall.
  • 54% support the state paying to send asylum seekers by bus to Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C..
  • 54% of likely Texas voters support the state spending $1.5 billion every year on border security.

Meanwhile, only 34% approve of the way President Joe Biden is handling the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

That number is dwarfed by the 56% who approve of the way Governor Abbott is handling it — an opinion shared by 54% of Independents and 93% of Republicans.

How do Texans feel about the state’s abortion policies?

When it comes to abortion, 52% of likely Texas voters believe current state law should be modified to make it easier to obtain the procedure, whereas just 11% believe it should be harder.  And 37% believe it should be left as is.

The poll also found that 57% of women and 47% of men would make it easier to obtain an abortion in Texas if they were in charge of the matter. 

The survey also discovered that 79% of Black women, 58% of Hispanic women and 51% of white women would also make it easier to obtain an abortion in our state if it were up to them.

How do Texans feel about the police response to the Uvalde massacre?

Finally, in the aftermath of the Uvalde massacre back in May, 48% of Hispanic likely Texas voters say they have a less favorable opinion of Abbott than they had before the tragedy. 

Conversely, 32% have a less favorable opinion of his challenger, Democrat Beto O’Rourke, than they had before the mass shooting that left 21 dead, including 19 children.

When it comes to law enforcement, 33% of likely Texas voters said they had a less favorable opinion of the Texas DPS than they had before the tragedy.

See all of the results of “Texas Decides” here or below:

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