A new Univ. of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows a fairly evenly divided electorate that has not moved much since October. We will have more to say about the poll and its potential implications for 2020 once the crosstabs are released later this week. For now, here are some notable results from the first day’s release.

A slim majority (52%) approve President Trump’s job performance. It is the highest percentage of UT/TT poll respondents viewing a president’s job performance favorably in the poll’s 11-year history. It is the sixth straight time that the percent of respondents approving Trump’s job performance has risen, increasing slightly but steadily from 43% in June 2017. Overall, Trump’s job performance rating is 52/44 (+8), a nearly exact flip of the 43/51 rating he had two years ago.

Other job performance ratings include:

  • Gov. Greg Abbott (R) at 51/31, virtually unchanged since October 2018
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) at 41/31, slightly down from the 44/31 rating he had in October
  • Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) at 25/23, virtually unchanged from February on the approval side of the slash but a 7-point increase in disapproval
  • U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) at 47/39, virtually unchanged since October
  • U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) at 37/34, virtually unchanged since October
  • The Texas Legislature at 38/29, an improvement from June 2017, when it was underwater at 34/42; and
  • Congress at 18/60, which is consistent with the last couple years’ worth of polls.

Cruz has a higher percentage of respondents who “approve strongly” (27%) than Cornyn (14%), and a higher percentage of those who “disapprove strongly” (31%) than Cornyn (23%). Just 14% “neither approve nor disapprove” of Cruz’s job performance or “don’t know,” while double that percent has the same non-opinion of Cornyn.

Trump remains a polarizing figure. Half of respondents said they would “definitely” (39%) or “probably” (11%) vote to re-elect Trump, and the other half would “definitely” (43%) or “probably” (7%) “vote for someone else.” Note that “someone else” does not mean Democratic nominee, and the horse-race poll numbers yet to be released should reinforce that a Democratic presidential candidate is in a dead heat here.

A surprisingly high 85% of respondents said they would vote in primary elections if they were “held today.” Suffice it to say that the state has never seen that kind of primary turnout. Combined turnout for the 2016 presidential primaries was 30% of registered voters.

Former Vice President Joe Biden leads the large Democratic field at 23%, followed by a trio within the margin of error of each other: former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) at 15%, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at 14% and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) at 12%. The only other candidates outside the margin of error of zero are South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 8% and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) at 5%. Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro polled at 3%, tying him with U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawai’i).

Looking toward the 2020 primaries, 37% of self-identified Republicans “think Republican elected officials in Texas are … not conservative enough,” and 41% of self-identified Democrats think their elected officials are “not liberal enough.”

©2019 Texas Election Source LLC