Texans concerned about economy, immigration: poll

The dollar doesn't buy as much anymore. Anxiety about inflation and the national economy are the top issues in Texas today, according to the new Texas Lyceum poll released Wednesday by lead researcher Joshua Blank.

"So Texas is setting records. 42% of adults say the Texas economy is worse than the rest of the country's. This is the highest share we've seen, saying this going back to 2009, when we first began asking this question in Lyceum polling," said Blank.

The gloomy national economic outlook, according to Blank, started in 2020 with the pandemic and those in the survey haven't recovered. The cost of housing is a big driver with 63% saying they're spending too much.

"And it's gone from 44% in 2020, a consistent uptick now to almost two thirds of Texans in 2024 at 63%. This is widespread. It's not limited to certain groups. It's basically almost everybody. 73% of renters say they're spending too much of their income on housing, but so too are 57% of homeowners," said Blank. 

At the state level, immigration and border security remain top issues. Another hot topic was not in the poll, the fight over school choice and school vouchers.

"We just didn't really have the time to delve into what actually is also a really difficult area to poll and because people's responses to voucher questions are so conditioned on the question wording that it just wasn't really something that was a priority for this year," said Blank.

The survey did ask about legalizing marijuana and casino gambling, which most support. Keeping Texas a player in space exploration also polled high, as did Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in their political races; both have 10-point leads. 


The poll also gave the Governor and Lt Governor positive job approval numbers but not by a wide margin. As for the state legislature, the poll did offer a glimmer of hope for Democrats.

"I think what you are seeing is, you are seeing in the generic ballots the way that Texas is becoming more competitive," said Blank. 

Emerging legislative topics include mental health. The survey identified that as a problem, with 39% calling it a crisis. Water reliability is also a concern. 

But faith in the government to solve those issues is eroding. The poll found only 37% of Texans "strongly agreed" that "democracy is the best form of government." Blank was asked if he thought that was a red flag and if it was driven by the current election cycle.

"I think it's certainly a yellow flag. I mean, you know, I'm always going on about trends, and we can see that the numbers are moving in the wrong direction. And I think the question is, is what can we imagine would turn that around so that the numbers begin moving in the right direction? And it's hard to imagine much of anything in that, regardless of who wins the election. I think either side is going to express a significant amount of concern about the process," said Blank.

The survey isn't all doom and gloom. Blank said the survey indicated that minority groups who took part are more optimistic about their economic situation and the future for their children.