Texas GOP's right-wing agenda is not popular with Texans

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New polls show little support for GOP efforts to suppress the vote, ban abortions, and eliminate gun licensing and training requirements.

The Republican majority in the Texas legislature has spent this year trying to take away abortion rights, make it harder to vote, and allow adults without licenses or training to carry handguns. Now two new polls show few Texans want any of those things.

On Thursday, Quinnipiac University released a poll of 1,223 Texas adults conducted in mid-June. On Friday, the University of Texas/Texas Tribune released their own June poll of 1,200 voters registered in the state. Both found little popular support for the Texas GOP's right-wing agenda.

The 2020 platform of the Republican Party of Texas expressly calls for the abolition of abortion, stating that "life begins at conception" and calling on the legislature to "ignore or refuse to enforce any and all federal statutes, regulations, orders, and court rulings" that provide for reproductive choice.

In May, the GOP legislature passed and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a likely unconstitutional bill banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and allowing private individuals to sue to enforce the law. Abbott said during the signing, "Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion ... [the] bill that I'm about to sign ... ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion."

But according to the University of Texas/Texas Tribune survey, just 32% of Texans approve of the legislature's handling of abortion policy this session, and 42% disapprove. Asked about the six-week ban, 44% support it and 46% are opposed.

The Quinnipiac poll revealed similar opposition, with 42% in support of the six-week ban and 49% opposed, and found that 55% of Texans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. By a 58%-35% majority, those surveyed agreed with the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that the right to choose an abortion is constitutionally protected.

The state party platform also opposes "any measure that would deprive someone of their right to possess firearms without being convicted of a crime or being found mentally incompetent by a medical psychiatric professional."

Last week, Abbott signed a law eliminating the state's licensing and training requirements for adults to carry a holstered handgun — concealed or openly. He said the move will "instill freedom in the Lone Star State."

The Quinnipiac poll found massive opposition to this law: 24% support it and 74% are against it. The University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll showed 36% support and 57% opposition.

Thanks to a May walkout by Texas House Democrats, the minority party was able to temporarily thwart a GOP suppression bill that would make Texas one of the hardest states in the country for citizens to exercise their right to vote. Abbott on Tuesday called a special legislative session for July to take up the bill again.

He told the Dallas Morning News earlier this month that Republicans would "pass an election integrity bill" in a special session, calling it "needed" and saying it "must pass."

But his constituents do not agree that such a law is necessary.

Quinnipiac's polling found that only 42% of Texas adults believe there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, while 55% think there wasn't. By a 50%-45% margin, they also do not believe stricter voting laws are necessary to secure elections.

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll found just 35% believe the rules for voting should be stricter, 29% said they should be left as they are, and 26% said they should be less strict.

GOP attempts to prohibit teaching students about the history of racism in the United States were not popular either. The University of Texas/Texas Tribune found 44% support for limiting education materials that emphasize racism and 45% opposition.

The party's refusal to expand Medicaid is even more unpopular, with the UT/Texas Tribune survey finding 67% support for doing so and just 22% opposition.

This comes as voters in Texas have been increasingly trending away from the GOP. President George W. Bush won his home state with 61% of the vote in 2004, but President Donald Trump got just 52% in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

In 2018, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz barely won reelection with less than 51% of the vote after winning easily with 56.5% of the vote in 2012.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.