A new poll shows a majority of Texas voters would oppose the state banning access to abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The UT/Texas Politics Project poll, which surveyed 1,200 registered voters in Texas, also gauges response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security mission, the state’s rapid population growth and concerns about the economy. It found that 54% are against banning all abortions in Texas if Roe was overturned, while 35% would support it.
“Now, this is remarkably consistent,” said James Henson, the director of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin. “We’ve asked this question four times in the last two years, and the results have barely moved. So, that underlines that Texans’ views on abortions are fairly fixed.”
The poll was taken in April – before a draft opinion was leaked this week, indicating that the Supreme Court could soon overturn Roe v. Wade – but with the expectation that the nation’s high court is expected to issue a ruling in June related to the 1973 landmark case.
Breaking it down by party affiliation, Henson said 80% of Democrats surveyed oppose ending access to abortion in the state, while 57% of Republicans would support that.
“But a sizable minority, 34% [of Republicans], are opposed,” Henson added. “This is both an indication and, in looking forward, a kind of leading indicator of why this issue is not as straightforward for Republicans — particularly Republicans in an election year — as one might think.”
Texas is among several states with a so-called trigger law on the books that would make abortions illegal should Roe be overturned. A provision in the Texas law, passed last year, allows it to take effect 30 days after the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade.
Henson said the poll found that when it comes to the implementation of Texas’ trigger law, independents “look a lot more like Democrats than Republicans.”
“If you look at the 12% or so who are true independents in Texas — not those that lean towards one party or the other, but will not identify with a party no matter what — only 26% support overturning Roe v. Wade. 57% opposed it.”
If Roe is overturned, Henson expects it will create a “mobilization opportunity for Democrats” to get more people, including independents, to vote in the 2022 election.
Henson said independent voters in Texas typically favor Republicans on issues like border security and the economy.
Poll results on border security and the economy
The poll surveyed Texans on Abbott’s border security mission, known as Operation Lone Star, and found that the vast majority – more than 80% – were familiar with the deployment of state police and military assets to the border.
“Of those that had heard about it, 57% supported it; 31% opposed it,” Henson said. “That 57% support is buttressed by near-unanimous support among Republicans: 90% of Republicans support this.” And a plurality of independents support the increased resources being sent to the border as part of Operation Lone Star, he said.
The poll also asked Texans whether they thought the state’s population growth in over the past several years has been good or bad for Texas.
“The results were, frankly, a little shocking,” Henson said. “Only 34% thought the population growth has been good for the state, and 40% thought that it had been bad. This was the first time in the four or five times that we’ve asked this question over the last several years that the amount of people that thought it was bad outweighed the share that thought it was good.”
An increasing number of Texans say inflation is having a major impact on their households, with 43% saying the Texas economy is worse off than it was a year ago, Henson said.
“That’s the worst that we’ve seen that rating in over a decade,” he said. “And so there’s a lot of concern and a lot of anxiety about the economy and about, I think, where Texas is right now in terms of its population and economic growth.”