Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) job approval rating (43/45) is underwater for the first time as the state’s chief executive, according to the latest Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll (PDF). Forty-three percent of respondents approve his job performance, his lowest such figure since October 2016.

The new poll is the fifth straight for which the percent of respondents approving Abbotts’ performance has dropped, declining 13 points from his all-time high of 56/32 in April 2020 – the poll taken right at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 45% share of respondents disapproving of his performance is the highest found by the UT/TT poll since Abbott became governor.

Around a fifth of respondents “strongly” approved of Abbott’s job performance, and around a third “strongly” disapproved. Considerably more Democrats (65%) “strongly” disapproved Abbott’s job performance than Republicans (37%) “strongly” approved it. However, nearly half of all self-identified “extremely conservative” respondents “strongly” approved, and Abbott’s rating among that group was 79/12, nearly identical to the 79/14 rating of “somewhat conservative” group. Of the latter, a third “strongly” approved.

In fact, Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) and Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) all received high marks from the “extremely” and “somewhat” conservative respondents:

  • Extremely conservative: Abbott 79/12, Patrick 75/7, Paxton 68/7
  • Somewhat conservative: Abbott 79/14, Patrick 64/13, Paxton 62/11
  • Lean conservative: Abbott 57/30, Patrick 43/24, Paxton 37/29
  • Moderate: Abbott 30/49, Patrick 15/40, Paxton 14/38

All three are underwater among moderates, but respondents who “lean” conservative still view all three rather favorably. Overall, Patrick’s job approval rating is 35/39, and Paxton’s is 32/36.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) has the best rating among “extremely” conservative respondents: 89/7. Of that group, 72% “strongly” approve, well above the 27% who “strongly” approve of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn’s (R) job performance. Overall, Cruz’s job approval rating is 43/48, and Cornyn’s is 31/43.

Agriculture Comm. Sid Miller (R) was not included within the job approval rating section, but he was part of the political knowledge questions. Not quite one in four respondents knew he was the current Agriculture Commissioner.

The poll of 1,200 registered voters was conducted online by YouGov. It was in the field April 16-22 and has a ±2.8% margin of error for the full sample.

GOV: In a lengthy New York Times Magazine article discussing the Republican Party in Texas, Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton (R) was apparently asked about whether he would back Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in the primary. “I don’t think he supports me,” Paxton is quoted as saying. “I don’t support him.” Shortly after the story was posted online, Paxton tweeted that he supported Abbott. “He’s a great Governor and a Great Texas.” A spokesperson said Paxton’s comments were taken out of context. He was describing how primary candidates tend to run their own campaigns and not get involved in other people’s races.

Election Legislation: House Bill 6 by Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) has been placed on the Major State calendar for Thursday. Assuming the paperwork is complete, Cain may choose to have the House consider Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) in lieu of his own bill. Cain substituted the entirety of Senate Bill 7 with the language of House Bill 6. They are now considered companion measures even though they were not when introduced. The final determination of whether a bill is a companion to another rests with the Speaker.

Because the language of Senate Bill 7 is now identical to House Bill 6, the House will not debate or vote on provisions in Senate-passed version of Senate Bill 7 that could end up in the final version of the legislation. Assuming the Senate disagrees with the House amendments, a conference committee will determine which provisions (or which chambers’ versions of provisions) will be included in the final bill. A conference committee report cannot be amended – it is a straight up or down vote.

Fort Worth: State Reps. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth), Ramon Romero (D-Fort Worth) and Chris Turner (D-Arlington) endorsed Deborah Peoples in the mayoral runoff. Peoples is the Tarrant Co. Democratic Party chair.

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