The View from Texas: Presidential Voting Intention and Approval Rating (1-3 February 2024)

February 7, 2024
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | Donald Trump | Immigration | Joe Biden | Texas | US Elections | US Government | US Politics | US Presidential Election 2024 | Voting Intention

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For more than thirty years, Texas has been a reliably Republican heartland.

Democrats have not carried the State in a Presidential Election since Jimmy Carter won it in 1976. The last victory for a Democrat in a Senate race came in 1988, and Ann Richards was the last Democratic candidate to be elected Governor of the Lone Star State in 1990.

Meanwhile, the State has experienced massive population growth. In 2022, Texas became only the second State (after California) to have a population of more than 30 million. By consequence, while Texas accounted for 32 out of 538 votes in the Electoral College in 2000, the 2024 Election will see the State award 40 Electoral College votes.

The growth of Texas in electoral importance should be good news for Republicans. But margins in recent Presidential contests have tightened. In 2008, John McCain defeated Barack Obama in Texas by almost 12 points (56% vs 44%). In 2020, Donald Trump’s margin over Joe Biden was only five points (52% vs 47%). 

At the same time, Democrats dreams of an imminent realignment have been belied by their failure to win a number of recent high-profile statewide races, including Governor Greg Abbott’s 11-point victory over Beto O’Rourke in 2022.

Facing a new election cycle, a recent poll of Texan voters conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies in partnership with Newsweek suggests a repeat match-up of the 2020 election contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump would see Texas remain firmly in Republican hands.

If Trump and Biden are candidates in November, 44% of Texans say they would vote for Trump, 35% for Biden, and 6% for independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

However, in the event that former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is the Republican nominee, our poll suggests a shock result may be in the cards.

In that hypothetical scenario, Joe Biden (32%) holds a 2% lead over Haley (30%), with a further 14% backing Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 

18% of voters in Texas say they don’t know how they would vote in this scenario.

47% of Texans think Donald Trump has a better chance of beating Joe Biden in the 2024. Presidential Election. Only 19% think Haley does.

In fact, 75% of Trump 2020 voters say Trump is more likely to defeat Biden, against only 11% of that cohort who say Haley would be more likely to do so. Among Biden 2020 voters, by comparison, a plurality (36%) think Haley would be more likely to defeat the sitting President.

President Joe Biden earns a net approval rating of -17% from Texans, with 49% disapproving of his overall job performance as President against only 32% who approve.

By comparison, Governor Greg Abbott holds a positive net approval rating of +6%. 43% of Texans approve and 37% disapprove of his performance as Governor.

The State’s sitting US Senators also both enjoy positive net approval ratings, with Ted Cruz (who faces re-election this November) holding a marginally better rating (+3%) than his more senior colleague John Cornyn (+1%).

Altogether, a plurality of Texans (40%) view the Abbott Administration as competent. 32% see the Abbott Administration as incompetent.

On policy, the Abbott Administration earns positive net approval ratings for its performance on issues including the economy (+13%), taxation (+6%), and immigration (+2%).

However, it earns negative net approval ratings for its performance on issues including healthcare (-4%), housing (-3%), and benefits (-1%).

Among these issues, the economy (60%), immigration (37%), and healthcare (35%) are the top three issues Texas voters say will determine how they vote in November.

Immigration has been a particular flashpoint in Texas. US Border Patrol agents detained almost a quarter of a million migrants (249,785) entering the US illegally across the southern border in December alone, many after crossing the Rio Grande into Texas. 

That surge has sparked a months-long standoff between Texas and the Federal Government over border policies.

As it stands, 66% of Texans agree that Texas is facing a migrant crisis at this moment, a view that is shared by 87% of Trump 2020 voters and 59% of Biden 2020 voters.

This percentage is almost identical to that of New Yorkers (65%) who said that their city was facing a migrant crisis in polling last August (in part due to a decision by Texan authorities to bus migrants who entered Texas to the city).

In addition, 57% of Texans do not believe the United States has control over the border between Texas and Mexico.

Among voters who hold this view, 57% think the Federal Government is most to blame for the current lack of control over the border, while only 7% most blame the Texas State Government. 28% blame both equally.

With border security certain to be a key issue for Texan voters in the coming Presidential Election, 50% say they trust Donald Trump the most to secure the border with Mexico, while just 25% trust Joe Biden the most on the issue.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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