Majority of Texas voters say border security, property taxes, education are top legislative issues

Securing the Texas border, reducing property taxes and expanding school choice are all issues Texans say the state Legislature should prioritize this session, according to a new poll.

The poll was conducted by WPA Intelligence for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. It surveyed 800 registered voters statewide by phone between Jan. 29 and Feb. 1 and has a margin of error of 3.5%. 

According to the poll, Texans prioritized border security/illegal immigration as the top issue the legislature should address (24%), followed by education (8%), social issues (7%), and the economy (5%).

An overwhelming majority, 91%, said they support health care price transparency. Earlier this month, a state House select committee on health care reform proposed recommendations and drafted legislation for the state legislature to consider to reduce medical and prescription drug costs and expand transparency.

An 80% majority oppose taxpayer-funded lobbying and want it banned. State Sen. Mayes Middleton, R-Wallisville, introduced a bill for the third time this session to ban it. 

Nearly 95% of Republican voters in the March 2020 primary election voted in favor of a ballot proposition supporting the ban, which is also a legislative priority of the Republican Party of Texas. A University of Texas and Texas Tribune poll also found that 69% of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents support a ban.

Nearly as many polled, 79%, said property taxes are a major burden. Gov. Greg Abbott and the leaders of the state Senate and House have all pledged to work together to bring property taxes down. The question is by how much and through what mechanism.

Another 73% polled said they wanted more school choice options, including 77% of Independents and 66% of Democrats.

TPPF Communications Director Brian Phillips told The Center Square, “The data shows Texans are ready for the legislature to make progress on securing the border, lowering property taxes, empowering parents, and protecting children. The good news is the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker have all said those are on the agenda this session, and issues like property taxes and parent empowerment, in particular, are a high priority. Texans are poised to have a historically good legislative session.”  

He also suggested that Texans evaluate the demographic sample of any poll that’s published, “especially the political breakdown. Our sample is 37% GOP, 27% Democrat, and 31% Independent or something else. Bad polling will get this wrong. For example, one regular polling outfit in Texas – who I won’t embarrass by naming – released a series of polls with a political sample of 39% Democrat, 36% Republican, and 20% Independent.”

The WPA poll sample is based on a statistical analysis of demographics, including gender, age, ethnicity, location, and political affiliation, TPPF says.

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