Elections 2022Immigration & BorderIssuesPoll Suggests Texans Support Abbott’s Border Policies but Divided on State Border Wall

About half of registered voters in Texas disapprove of Gov. Greg Abbott’s job performance as he faces challenger Beto O’Rourke.
May 16, 2022
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Registered voters in Texas favored many of Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent actions on border security, but respondents were divided on the state border wall and about half of them disapproved of Abbott’s job performance as governor, according to a poll conducted by the University of Texas at Tyler in conjunction with The Dallas Morning News.

The May 2 through May 10 survey had a sample size of 1,232 registered voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

Only 30 percent of respondents approved or strongly approved of President Biden’s immigration policies as opposed to 60 percent who disapproved or strongly disapproved.

Meanwhile, 45 percent of the respondents stated that they approved or strongly approved of Abbott’s job performance on immigration while 48 percent indicated disapproval or strong disapproval.

Abbott’s most popular action on border security was “inspecting all commercial vehicles at the border,” which 70 percent of respondents said they supported. Only 20 percent indicated opposition and 11 percent said they did not know.

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The survey also asked about Abbott’s decision to provide transportation to Washington, D.C. for illegal aliens who have been apprehended and released from federal custody. 51 percent stated that they supported the governor’s decision while 34 percent said they were opposed. 15 percent said they did not know.

Abbott’s rationale is that the Biden administration ought to bear the burden of providing for illegal aliens as it has arguably incentivized illegal immigration. However, as of Friday, Texas had transported only 922 aliens to the nation’s capital.

With regard to “the use of state funds to deploy the National Guard and [Department of Public Safety] officers to patrol the border,” 55 percent supported the move while 34 were in opposition. 11 percent said they did not know.

The most controversial item was the state border wall. When asked about their opinion on “the use of state funds to extend the border wall,” 45 percent of respondents supported the idea while 47 percent were opposed. Only 8 percent said they did not know.

When asked about the border wall in general, 44 percent of respondents said they strongly agree or somewhat agree with the statement that “a wall along the Texas-Mexico border is necessary for a safe border.” 42 percent indicated disagreement or strong disagreement and 15 percent were neutral.

Respondents were asked if they supported the U.S. government’s decision “to close the borders with Mexico and Canada to immigrants without a visa during the public health emergency.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a public health order under Title 42 of the U.S. Code that allowed the rapid expulsion of illegal aliens during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The policy is set to end on May 23, though plans to end the order are uncertain after a U.S. district judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the termination.

Though the survey question did not specifically mention Title 42, 65 percent of respondents said they either supported or strongly supported closing the borders with Mexico and Canada to people without a visa during the pandemic. Only 13 percent said they were against it, with 21 percent expressing no preference.

Elections

Abbott also has an advantage over O’Rourke in the general election. 46 percent of respondents preferred Abbott in the governor’s race while 39 percent chose O’Rourke. Other candidates received 3 percent or less.

However, 46 percent of respondents said they either strongly approve or approve of Abbott’s job performance, while half said they disapproved or strongly disapproved and 4 percent said “neither.”

In addition, 42 percent said they trusted O’Rourke on border policy over Abbott while 41 said they trusted Abbott over O’Rourke. 17 percent said they trusted neither the governor nor O’Rourke.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick fared better than Abbott in the survey with an approval rating of 50 percent.

Meanwhile, Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) is favored in the runoff with Mike Collier for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. 31 percent of respondents preferred Beckley while 19 percent chose Collier, with 44 percent unsure of who they support.

Respondents also preferred Attorney General Ken Paxton to his Republican runoff opponent, Land Commissioner George P. Bush. 41 percent said they supported Paxton, 35 said they supported Bush, and 24 said they did not know.

The poll also asked about various controversial issues, such as the screening of books in school libraries, election reform, and marijuana laws.

For instance, 60 percent of respondents indicated they support legalizing recreational marijuana, while 39 percent were opposed.

According to the poll, about two-thirds of registered voters in Texas are Christians, including those who identify as Roman Catholics, Evangelical Protestants, Mainline Protestants, nondenominational Christians, African-American Protestants, and Mormons.

Registered voters who identified with no faith accounted for 22 percent. Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and those who practice faiths other than Judaism and Christianity account for 11 percent. Only one percent identified as Jewish.

A copy of the poll results can be found below.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."