College of Liberal Arts

Cruz’s Lead Widens, Clinton Stays Strong in UT/Texas Tribune Poll

Mon, Jun 22, 2015
The Texas Politics Project manages three to four non-partisan, statewide polls of registered voters each year in conjunction with the Texas Tribune.
The Texas Politics Project manages three to four non-partisan, statewide polls of registered voters each year in conjunction with the Texas Tribune.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remain front-runners among Republican and Democratic primary voters in Texas, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

If the 2016 primary elections for president were held today, Texas Republicans would favor Cruz over former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 20 to 12 percent, widening Cruz’s one-point lead over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the February poll.

The statewide poll was conducted using the Internet between June 5 and June 14 by the market research firm YouGov. The sample included 1,200 self-declared registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points.

Though Clinton remains a strong favorite, her lead fell nine points since the previous poll to 53 percent of Democratic primary voters in Texas favoring her over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, at 15 percent. When asked who their second choice was, Texas Democratic voters selected Vice President Joe Biden above the rest, at 25 percent.

The presidential primary portion of the poll included 564 Republican and 396 Democratic voters, with margins of error of 4.37 and 4.58 percentage points respectively.

“Ted Cruz remains the leading candidate among Republican hopefuls, based largely on his continuing appeal to the conservative wing of the Texas GOP,” said James Henson, director of UT Austin's Texas Politics Project and co-director of the poll. “But there is no clear consensus candidate, given the lack of a national front-runner, the number of candidates with Texas connections, and the time remaining before the March primary.”

When respondents were asked their approval of President Barack Obama’s job performance, 35 percent said they somewhat or strongly approved, while 55 percent indicated disapproval.

Texans' views of Congress fell from 20 percent job approval in the previous poll to 15 percent in the current poll. Disapproval of Congress increased from 58 percent in February to 62 percent in June. Numbers are more favorable when asked how their own member of Congress is performing, with 33 percent approving and 36 disapproving.

"Congress has moved from truly dismal to merely pathetic in its standing in Texas,” Henson said. “Even though the same party that dominates state politics now has majorities in both houses of Congress, Texans remain deeply disapproving of Congress — and seemingly of almost anything having to do with Washington, D.C.”

The poll also asked the Texas voters their opinions on Clinton, Cruz and Obama. According to the findings:

  • For Obama, 34 percent held a favorable impression of him, while 55 percent view him as unfavorable.
  • For Clinton, 35 percent held a favorable impression of her, while 55 percent view her as unfavorable.
  • For Cruz, 40 percent held a favorable impression of him, while 37 percent view him as unfavorable.

“It’s not surprising that the president remains unpopular in Texas,” says Daron Shaw, government professor and co-director of the poll. “What is perhaps more interesting is that the two front-runners for the 2016 Texas primary have so much opposition at this stage. Hillary Clinton’s numbers are almost identical to Obama’s, and Ted Cruz is only +3 favorable in a solidly red state.” 

This is the latest in a series of online polls conducted by the Texas Politics Project and The Texas Tribune. Comprehensive poll results, information about methodology and the survey dataset will be available at the Texas Politics Project website later this week.

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