-By a 54/21 margin Texas voters say that they support the Voting Rights Act, including 45/23 even with Republicans. Only 29% of voters say that they favor the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn parts of the VRA last week, with 45% opposed.
-It’s going to be a while before Texas voters get on board with gay marriage – we find that only 34% of voters in the state support it to 57% who are opposed. As we find in most of the South though the hang up for Texans is more the term ‘marriage’ than opposing equal legal rights for same sex couples- we find that 63% of voters support at least civil unions to only 31% who are opposed to any sort of legal equality. 72% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and even a 51% majority of Republicans support either gay marriage or civil unions in Texas.
When it comes to employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, only 14% of Texans think that should be an allowable practice compared to 75% who believe it should not. Even among Republicans just 21% believe that’s acceptable to 62% who think it is unacceptable.
I don’t quite know what to make of that VRA result. While it mirrors national polling numbers in the wake of the SCOTUS decision, there was evidence prior to that decision that support for the VRA – in particular, for preclearance – was splintering along partisan lines. That’s not terribly surprising, given the ferocious opposition from Republican officials and the hamstringing of the voter ID law. I’d like to see what happens to these numbers in a few months’ time.
As for the gay marriage numbers, I believe they will continue to shift in the positive direction. The important thing is that most people don’t oppose any kind of legal equality. It’s probably safe to assume that much of this opposition comes from GOP primary voters, and that means another place where Republican statewide officials are going to be out of step with prevailing public opinion. Democratic candidates cannot and must not shy away from this.
One more result of interest:
When it comes to general election match ups for President in the state Hillary Clinton leads Perry 48/44, but trails the other Republicans we tested by 3-9 points. She’s down 46/43 to Jeb Bush, 49/44 to Ted Cruz, and 47/38 to Chris Christie.
Hillary Clinton continues to poll as a candidate that could make Texas competitive in 2016, but it must be noted that her numbers have slipped a bit here since the last results in January. This is to be expected – as I said at that time, partisan affiliation is going to exert itself. I do believe she has a higher ceiling than President Obama has shown, but it’s not clear yet how much higher. Needless to say, 2016 is still a long way off. Texpatriate and BOR have more.