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TTU's Earl Survey Research Lab Announces Results of 2017 Post-Election Survey

LUBBOCK, TX (NEWS RELEASE) - Texas Tech University’s Earl Survey Research Lab (ESRL) announced today (April 26) the results of its 2017 Post-Election Survey on hot-button topics, including politics, health care, transgender bathroom access, gay marriage and legalization of marijuana.

From March 20 to April 13, undergraduate students conducted interviews as part of a joint project between visiting instructor Jared Perkins’ Political Analysis class and ESRL director Sara Norman’s Introduction to American Government class, both in the Department of Political Science.

“We have had students participate in this survey for the past several years,” Norman said. “We always get great results from it and the students love it; they really get a hands-on approach of how public opinion works and how important it is. They realize how much work goes into getting these results, so I think they appreciate it.”

The telephone survey of 442 registered voters in Texas showed slightly greater disapproval than approval on President Donald Trump’s job performance (43 percent approved; 49 percent disapproved) and on his policy on banning residents of primarily Muslim countries from entering the United States (44 percent approved; 49 percent disapproved).

When asked if they would vote for a challenger to Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 primary election, 41 percent said yes, 22 percent said no and 36 percent did not know.

Survey participants were nearly evenly split when asked whether it is the federal government’s responsibility to ensure all Americans have health care coverage (45 percent said yes, 48 percent said no) and when asked if they support Texas’ new requirement that medical clinics must bury the fetal remains from abortion procedures (42 percent said yes, 46 percent said no).

More than three-quarters of respondents (77 percent) said Texas school districts should offer more comprehensive sex education while 14 percent supported an abstinence-only approach.

Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) indicated transgender people should be required to use the public restroom of the gender they were born into; slightly more than one-third (37 percent) said transgender people should be allowed to use the public restroom of the gender with which they identify.

When asked if marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized as legally valid, 64 percent said they should be and 28 percent said they should not. More than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) said same-sex married couples are entitled to the full benefits of marriage, including insurance coverage for a spouse, while 27 percent disagreed.

On the question of marijuana legalization, 25 percent supported legalizing medical marijuana, 43 percent supported legalizing marijuana in general, 21 percent did not support any legalization of marijuana and 8 percent needed more information.

More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) said it is the responsibility of federal government to protect all endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act, even those found only in Texas; 23 percent disagreed.

More than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) said they support the current policy of using a portion of the property taxes from areas with expensive real estate to fund schools in areas with lower property values; 24 percent said they did not support the policy.

“On the whole, Texans are pretty independent-minded, pretty libertarian,” Perkins said. “Some of these things, especially marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage, show a ‘live and let live’ kind of attitude: that people should be allowed to live their lives without government interference. But there are a few results we found that don’t quite hold that and portray a more complicated picture of Texas political ideology – for example, a heightened federal enforcement of the Endangered Species Act and support for government involvement in health care. It’s a more complicated picture that shows that Texas’ demographics are changing and Texas’ political values are changing as well.”

Further analysis of this survey and other ESRL administered surveys can be found on the ESRL blog.

CONTACT: Jared Perkins, visiting instructor, Department of Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences, Texas Tech University, (806) 834-7669 or jared.perkins@ttu.edu; Sara Norman, Earl Survey Research Lab director, Department of Political Science, College of Arts & Sciences, Texas Tech University, (806) 834-7364 or sara.t.norman@ttu.edu 

(News release from Texas Tech University)

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