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Ahead of legislative session, voters say state government mostly ignores the most important issues facing Texans

By Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

Ahead of legislative session, voters say state government mostly ignores the most important issues facing Texans” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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With less than a month until the next legislative session, Texas voters are skeptical that the state government will address their needs, according to a new poll.

The survey from the University of Texas at Austin found that 46% said the state government “mostly ignores” residents’ needs, while 37% said the state government “mostly addresses the needs of Texas.” The last time the pollsters asked that question — in October 2017 — the trend was reversed, with a plurality expressing satisfaction with the state government’s attentiveness to their needs.

When it came to certain issues that could factor into the next session, which starts Jan. 10, here’s what the poll found:

  • With Republicans looking to punish businesses they deride as “woke,”the survey asked voters how they think corporations are handling six social issues. More than any issue, respondents said businesses were doing “too much” responding to LGBTQ rights, with 36% holding that view. When it came to the issue respondents thought businesses were doing “too little” on, climate change led the way with 44%.
  • With gaming advocates ramping up for a second round of trying to loosen Texas’ restrictions, a plurality of voters agreed those laws should be “made less strict.” While 35% chose that option, 20% said the laws should be “made more strict” and 22% preferred the status quo.
  • Voters approved of offering economic incentives to get businesses to relocate to the state, a relevant topic as lawmakers look to reviving the Chapter 313 tax-break program. Forty-six percent of respondents said they thought state and local governments should “offer economic benefits, like reduced property taxes, to persuade businesses to move to Texas or expand their current operations.” Thirty-one percent disagreed with that.
  • The poll also asked about two issues that are unlikely to gain this traction this session but continue to garner clear support from voters: legalizing marijuana and expanding Medicaid. Eighty-three percent of respondents said marijuana should be legal in some way, and 65% supported expanding Medicaid.

The poll also found that Texas voters continue to be most focused on the border. Thirty percent of voters called border security or immigration the most important problem facing the state today, far more than any other kind of issue. “Inflation/rising prices” and “political corruption/leadership” followed behind at 10% each.

The issues that Democrats prioritized in the latest election were farther down the list. Seven percent of respondents said gun control was the most important issue facing the state, 4% said the power grid and 3% picked abortion.

The survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted online from Dec. 2-12. The margin of error was +/- 2.83 percentage points.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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