Institute of Urban Policy
Institute of Urban Policy

IUPRA poll compares voters' pre and post-election views

In November 2016, IUPRA enlisted the polling firm Consumer Research International to conduct a public opinion poll among registered Texas voters. The sample design included an oversampling of Black people to generate more reliable estimates by race. This design strategy makes IUPRA’s poll unique in that it situates the analysis within a Black Studies context and focuses on Black voters as the point of comparison on public opinion.

A total of 510 registered voters were surveyed in the fall poll, which took place in November 2016. Forty-seven percent of the respondents identified as White, 25 percent identified as Black, 20 percent as Latino, and 8 percent either identified as another race or declined to say. A total of 210 registered voters were then also surveyed in April 2017 with the same set of questions. Forty-six percent of these respondents identified as White, 31 percent as Black, 15 percent as Latino, and 8 percent either identified as another race or declined to say. The sample in both polls included geographic representation from Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, Waco, Rio Grande Border, East Texas, and West Texas.

A number of topics were covered by the poll questions including criminal justice, education, health care, and racial climate.

 

Education

Many of the findings from the poll point to ways in which policy could help fix racial inadequacies in Texas’ education system. For example, an overwhelming majority of voters support not only discussing race and racism in public schools, but also formally training teachers to discuss race and racism with students. While Black voters were by far the most in favor of these trainings, White and Latino voters also showed strong support.

Figure 8

Other poll questions showed discrepancies in how the Texas education system actually works and how voters believe it should. While the State Board of Education is responsible for textbook adoption, most voters felt that either experts in the subject area or a panel of current teachers should be in that position. This is important considering the way Texas U.S. history textbooks have incorrectly and unjustly represented the Black experience in America (read more here).

Figure 9

 

Download the full report on education results from the IUPRA Poll.

 

Racial Climate

A notable finding from the poll was an increase from the fall to the spring in White voters advocating for interracial coalitions in light of the many White supremacist social movements to arise since the Trump election. The poll question asked whether voters thought discussions about race between people of different racial backgrounds was an effective tactic to help Black people achieve equality. A high percentage of White voters (74 percent) thought of this as an effective tactic in the fall poll, but the percentage of White voters who felt this way increased by 7 percent in the spring.


More Black voters in the spring than in the fall also felt that prejudice has become more common in the past five years, and 90 percent of Black voters in the fall poll felt that discrimination has become more common in the past five years.


Compared to the fall poll, substantially more Black voters in the spring believed that discrimination built into laws and institutions was a bigger problem than discrimination based on the prejudice of individuals. Thirty-five percent of Black voters felt this way in the fall and 51 percent in the spring.


Download the full report on racial climate results from the IUPRA Poll.



Health

Both the fall and spring polls also asked a number of questions concerning voters’ experiences with the health care system as well as their understanding of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Both sets of results validate income and lack of insurance coverage as indicators of greater health disparities in general, which is expected to worsen as the Affordable Care Act is gutted.

When asked in the spring of 2017 about the previous year if there was a time when someone in the household needed medical attention but did not seek it out, 19 percent of voters answered yes. Black voters were the highest number of respondents, as 34 percent agreed that they did not seek medical attention when necessary, while 22 percent of Latino voters and 15 percent of White voters also said yes. Of those who responded with yes, 43 percent of voters cited lack of insurance coverage as the main reason for not visiting a doctor or hospital when needed.


It is obvious from our poll results that there needs to be a greater focus on dental care, as 26 percent of all voters polled in the spring of 2017 answered that yes, someone in their household needed to see a dentist in the previous year but did not go to one. Again, lack of insurance coverage was the main reason given for not seeing a dentist when needed. 70 percent of Black respondents cited lack of insurance as their reason.


Download the full report on health results from the IUPRA Poll.

Thank you to Dr. Catherine Cubbin, Associate Dean for Research at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, and Yeonwoo Kim, PhD candidate at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work for help with the initial analysis of this version of the IUPRA poll.


  • Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis

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