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UT/TT Poll: Despite Russia Inquiry, Texas GOP Voters Solidly Trust Trump

Graphic by Jacob Villanueva/Bob Daemmrich

Most voters in the country’s biggest red state are wary of President Donald Trump — but Republican voters remain strongly supportive of him, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

More than half of the voters said Trump does not have the temperament to serve as president, but that number reflects strong Democratic antipathy to the president. Only 5 percent of self-identified Democrats said he has the temperament for the office, while 68 percent of self-identified Republicans said he does have the proper temperament.

Other assessments of the president carry the same partisan seasoning: Only 4 percent of Democrats said Trump is honest and trustworthy, and just 9 percent said he is competent. Republicans in Texas are still satisfied, with 66 percent saying Trump is honest and trustworthy and 80 percent saying he’s competent.

Overall, 43 percent approve of the job Trump is doing in office, while 51 percent disapprove. Among Republicans, 80 percent approve. Among Democrats, 90 percent disapprove.

Texas voters’ views of Trump roughly track the findings of the February UT/TT Poll. “If anyone has had a rough launch, it’s Donald Trump,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “But Texas Republicans are holding steady. They continue to embrace him.”

Russia and 2016

Two in five Texas voters believe Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election; those who did were predominantly Democrats and, unsurprisingly, believe that the Russian influence was beneficial to Donald Trump.


Only 9 percent of Republican voters said Russia influenced the election; 81 percent said it didn’t. Among Democrats, the numbers flipped: 75 percent said the Russians influenced the election, and 9 percent said that didn’t happen. Of those who said the Russians were influential — a group overwhelmingly dominated by Democrats — 95 percent said the Russian influence helped Trump and 2 percent said it helped Hillary Clinton.

Was there coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia? Once again, the answers were colored by party affiliation: 74 percent of Democratic voters said yes, while 80 percent of Republican voters said no. Overall, 39 percent of Texas voters believe there was coordination and 45 percent believe there was none. The remaining 16 percent chose “don’t know enough to say.”

“There’s no penalty for Trump fighting back against contentions of Russian involvement,” said Josh Blank, manager of polling research at the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin. That contention aligns with the views of Republican voters in Texas.

Russia’s attempts to influence that election are the subject of an investigation. Asked about the FBI, which is doing much of that work, 45 percent of Texas voters have a favorable opinion, 26 percent have an unfavorable opinion, and 29 percent said they have no opinion. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to express favorable views of the federal law enforcement agency: 51 percent have favorable opinions and 15 percent had unfavorable views; among Republicans, 43 percent were positive and 35 percent were negative.

Russia isn’t popular in Texas, but it’s less popular with Democrats. Overall, 11 percent of Texans have favorable views of that country and 56 percent have unfavorable views. The remaining 33 percent were either neutral or had no opinion. Among Democrats, 5 percent of the views were positive, 71 percent were negative and 24 percent were neutral. Among Republicans, 15 percent were positive, 45 percent were negative and 40 percent were neutral.

Health care

The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, isn’t a popular program in Texas, but it’s more popular than the health care legislation passed by the U.S. House earlier this year, the poll found.

Where 39 percent of voters have favorable views of the Affordable Care Act, only 20 percent have similar views of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House in May. Almost half of Texas voters — 49 percent — have “somewhat” or “very” unfavorable views of the ACA, while 51 percent put the House plan in that same category. Almost 30 percent said they had neutral or no opinion about the House plan, while only 13 percent were neutral on Obamacare.

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from June 2 to June 11 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points. Numbers in charts might not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.


From the Texas Tribune

Ross Ramsey is managing editor of The Texas Tribune and continues as editor of Texas Weekly, the premier newsletter on government and politics in the Lone Star State, a role he's had since September 1998. Texas Weekly was a print-only journal when he took the reins in 1998; he switched it to a subscription-based, internet-only journal by the end of 2004 without a significant loss in subscribers. As Texas Weekly's primary writer for 11 years, he turned out roughly 2 million words in more than 500 editions, added an online library of resources and documents and items of interest to insiders, and a daily news clipping service that links to stories from papers across Texas. Before joining Texas Weekly in September 1998, Ramsey was associate deputy comptroller for policy with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, also working as the agency's director of communications. Prior to that 28-month stint in government, Ramsey spent 17 years in journalism, reporting for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as the paper's Austin bureau chief. Prior to that, as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, he wrote for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ramsey got his start in journalism in broadcasting, working for almost seven years covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.
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