Poll: Immigration remains top issue for Texans

AUSTIN – For the fifth consecutive year, immigration and border security are the top issues on Texans’ minds as they prepare to choose a new president in less than two months, according to the Texas Lyceum’s annual poll released Wednesday.

A majority of Texas adults, 59 percent, said they opposed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s central campaign promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but that figure dropped to 48 percent when the poll considered likely voters.

The change is due, in large part, to the poll’s sample of adult Texans, which includes a younger and more ethnically diverse population than the state’s registered voter and likely voter samples that often are used in public opinion and election polling.

About 46 percent of those surveyed said they support the border wall idea Trump has advanced for more than a year in his White House quest. The question sharply divides Democrats and Republicans – 11 percent and 67 percent back the idea, respectively – and support for the proposal among independent voters stands at 24 percent.

“If you’re used to looking at registered voters and election results, it’s very easy to characterize the state as a deep red place with uniform conservative views,” said Joshua Blank, the poll’s research director. “You miss the nuance that this poll highlights.”

Fifty-four percent of the poll’s respondents said immigration helps the United States more than it harms, while 33 percent said it has more of a negative impact; 8 percent said it has a little of both. Unlike the border wall question, the majority view of immigration as a net-positive for the country holds when applied to registered voters, at 55 percent, and likely voters, at 50 percent. Whites and Republicans were far more likely than Latinos, African-Americans and Democrats to say immigration hurts more than it helps, the poll found.

By Bobby Cervantes for HOUSTON CHRONICLE
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