March 2, 2023
New Poll: Legislators Have an Opportunity to Act on Texans’ Everyday Concerns
On Texas Independence Day, we give the Legislature a roadmap to support Texans and the concerns central to their daily lives.
AUSTIN, TX — At Texas 2036, we’re taking today — Texas Independence Day — to celebrate the 30 million Texans going about their daily lives, contributing in ways large and small to the ongoing miracle known as Texas.
With that in mind, we’ve chosen today to release the second set of results from our Texas Voter Poll, gauging voters’ thoughts on both the affordability and accessibility of services key to their day-to-day lives and on the need for rigor in the public education curriculum.
● Seven in 10 voters said most working Texas parents lack access to affordable childcare options.
● More than nine in 10 voters said they were at least a little concerned about the affordability of housing in Texas.
● More than three in four voters would allow advanced practice nurses to provide more primary care in areas without enough primary care physicians.
○ Currently, 224 of Texas’ 254 counties are classified as primary care shortage areas, meaning that there are not enough doctors available to meet the needs of the population.
Voters also strongly back maintaining rigor in the public education curriculum.
● Nearly three in four voters favored requiring schools to use instructional materials that have been reviewed by the state and shown to be higher quality.
○ A recent analysis by the Texas Education Agency found that only 19% of surveyed reading assignments in Texas elementary schools were on grade level.
● Close to seven in 10 voters were against eliminating standardized testing of U.S. history.
With voters on the record about these issues of daily concern and where they would like to see future investments of their tax dollars, our poll demonstrates that lawmakers have a clear roadmap for taking real steps to improve the day-to-day life of Texans. Currently, 65% of Texas voters said the state government was doing either an excellent, good or fair job in solving problems and serving the needs of its residents.
“You can’t solve a problem that you don’t diagnose fairly and accurately,” said Margaret Spellings, president and CEO of Texas 2036. “Our hope is that citizens, lawmakers, partners and colleagues use this survey of our fellow Texans as a way to spur dialogue and inform decisions that affect all Texans.”
And in a not surprising view of how Texans look at how we solve problems, they look to everyone to step up to the plate — from business leaders to elected officials to regular people — showing that it will take everyone to achieve success in the future.
Three in 10 Texas voters thought regular people can do the best to improve Texas. That was more than the 26% of voters who thought state government officials were best positioned to improve Texas and the 18% who believed local government officials were best positioned to advance the state.
“Surveys like the Texas Voter Poll are vital to us as a data-based organization,” said A.J. Rodriguez, executive vice president of Texas 2036. “The results of this survey should galvanize the building of a coalition this year to insist the public sector act proactively to address the state’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.”
Voters overwhelmingly support lawmakers’ use of portions of the state’s historic $32.7 billion current revenue surplus to make generational investments in key infrastructure like water, state government cybersecurity and IT, community colleges, broadband accessibility and the creation of new state parks, as highlighted last week by Texas 2036.
“We are in a blessed position relative to other states because of the state’s historic revenue surplus. There are all these things out there that are big and impactful and directly impact people’s lives, and lawmakers have a real opportunity this year to tackle them,” said John Hryhorchuk, Texas 2036 senior vice president for policy and advocacy. “Voters want to see action, and our polling data shows that they want the state to pursue generationally-impactful investments.”
On Texas’ 187th birthday, Texas voters embrace learning about history and ensuring students have access to high quality curriculum in Texas schools. While some have proposed eliminating state standardized testing in American history, Texas voters resoundingly reject that effort. And as state leaders look to combat COVID-related learning loss, as well as historical student outcomes gaps, voters strongly approved of efforts to improve curricular materials in Texas public schools.
“Improving curriculum in Texas public schools can improve student outcomes and teacher quality of life,” said Mary Lynn Pruneda, Texas 2036 senior policy advisor. “With higher quality curriculum, teachers can focus on delivering instruction and helping meet each child’s individual needs.”
More than six in 10 of Texas voters said that they trust their local law enforcement to handle crime and public safety issues. But they also indicated that they would not back efforts in the Legislature to make less transparent the state’s system that governs the separation of a peace officer from their employers.
Texas 2036 released a report in November that documented problems with the form that law enforcement agencies use to describe the discharge of an officer. The report concluded that shortcomings in this system not only fails to adequately address the problem but can also facilitate a problem officer wandering to other agencies.
More than three in four Texas voters said their trust in law enforcement would decrease if lawmakers chose not to reform this system but instead chose to do away with it entirely.
“For Texas to be the best place to live and work, public safety, which is predicated on trust in law enforcement, is critical,” said Luis Soberon, policy advisor for Texas 2036. “That trust can be shaken and tarnished by a few who do not uphold the profession’s high standards. The Texas Legislature can seize the opportunity this session to improve safeguards against wandering officers, strengthen the profession and better protect all Texans.”
Baselice and Associates conducted the survey, polling 1,000 registered Texas voters on February 1-6, 2023. It has a margin of error of ± 3.1%. The interviews were conducted via phone (55%), SMS (13%), and online (32%). To view the poll results, visit www.texas2036.org/poll.
To learn more about Texas 2036 work, visit our updated website, which provides up-to-date analysis and insights in our blog section, showcases our data and legislative agenda, lays out our long-term Strategic Framework for Texas, and provides links to recent media, resources, and Action Center items.
About Texas 2036
Texas 2036 is a nonprofit organization building long-term, data-driven strategies to secure Texas’ prosperity through our state’s bicentennial and beyond. We offer nonpartisan ideas and modern solutions that are grounded in research and data on issues that matter most to all Texans.