Texas voters agree on key issues going into midterms

Rodriguez is the executive vice president at Texas 2036. Hryhorchuk is the senior vice president of policy and advocacy at Texas 2036.

Texas 2036’s latest poll reveals Texas voters across party lines support a roadmap for future state action in fundamental policy areas

Texas voters are increasingly concerned about the state’s future. What else do they agree on? They support solutions on core-governance issues, offering leaders a roadmap for strengthening voter confidence and moving Texas forward.

This is the far-reaching conclusion of our fifth Texas Voter Poll, which we released on Oct. 6.

In our survey, we found 93% of Texas voters expressed some level of concern about the state’s future — with 38% “extremely concerned,” 29% “very concerned” and 26% “somewhat concerned.” These concerns were shared across political parties. 

At the same time, Texas voters strongly support common-sense actions and sustainable investments to improve water infrastructure, workforce, education and public safety, leaving future generations a legacy of good governance and opportunity for success.

This poll presents a direct pathway for state leaders to address these shared priorities when the Texas Legislature convenes in about three months.

For example, key findings in the Texas Voter Poll include that 87% of Texas voters support the use of annual reading and math tests to provide “apples-to-apples comparisons” of how local schools are performing relative to others in the state.

Nearly 90% of Texas voters also believe it is important for the state to focus on increasing the number of post-secondary credentials while students are still in high school to ensure they graduate college- and career-ready.

When it comes to public safety, our Texas Voter Poll emphasized opportunities to bolster and build trust in law enforcement. Case in point: 83% of Texas voters indicated it would increase their confidence if lawmakers made it harder to rehire law enforcement officers who were previously fired for poor conduct. 

This can have a significant impact — Texans who don’t trust their local law enforcement to handle public safety are more concerned about crime in their communities, and more pessimistic about the state’s job in addressing law enforcement issues. 

These poll results show that around 4-in-5 Texans — across party lines and demographics — support the same policy options to increase public confidence in law enforcement.

The majority of Texas voters also agreed that the state should increase investments to expand our water supplies, with 84% supporting the Texas Legislature creating a fund to help update the aging infrastructure.

Support for water investment cut across geographic lines: percentages were just as high among men and women in both rural and urban-suburban areas.

As for government performance, by a 2-to-1 margin, Texas voters support increasing pay to attract talent for all state government positions.

While our Texas Voter Poll showed that Texans remain fiercely independent in their thinking, they are united around solutions that address the issues that will most impact our future. 

And Texas’ leaders now have a clear roadmap for action.

This poll offers a vital perspective on what really matters to Texans as we approach the state’s historic budget surplus. Leaders on all sides have an opportunity to come together and address the challenges voters see — and pursue widely supported solutions — in ways that help Texans in every part of this great state.

Our survey polled 1,000 registered Texas voters from Sept. 6–11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. To view the complete poll results, and drill down into the data, visit texas2036.org/poll.

This op-ed originally appeared in the Texas Tribune.