Dallas, TX – Concern for the economy has grown 58 percent in the three years the Texas Lyceum has conducted its statewide poll on politics and attitudes. But Texans are far more pessimistic about the federal economy than the state outlook as KERA's Shelley Kofler reports.
Three years ago when the non-partisan Texas Lyceum Poll asked Texas to identify their greatest concern they said Iraq. Last year Texans worried most about gas prices. This year 62 percent said they're most worried about the national economy.
Pollster Jim Henson, director of UT-Austin's Texas Politics Project, says Texans polled are especially pessimistic about big, financial institutions.
Henson: People are very worried about the safety of their retirement funds. You had 46 percent not confident in the safety of their retirement funds. (They are) very much lacking confidence in the US stock market with 64 percent saying they are not confident in the stock market.
A majority of Texans think our state's economy is healthier than the national economy. Three quarters believe they'll be able to pay their mortgage or rent.
But overwhelmingly, two-to-one, Texans believe the federal government is spending too much money. That may be why more than half support Governor Rick Perry's controversial decision to reject a half billion federal stimulus dollars. The money would have helped fill a gap in the state unemployment insurance fund and it would have expanded unemployment benefits to some not currently covered.
Texas Attitudes on Same Sex Couples and Voter ID
The poll also found a majority of Texans support expanding legal rights for same-sex couples. While 36-percent of respondents do not support same-sex marriage, 25-percent do. Another one-third support civil unions.
An overwhelming 71-percent support a requirement that voters show photo identification before they case their ballots. Pollster Jim Henson says, however, voter identification legislation is a lot more important to the politicians than it is to most Texans.
Henson: If you ask people what you think the most important issue of the state is electoral fraud any kind of voter impersonation doesn't show up at all it doesn't register at all among voter concerns. So what you see is an issue that I think political insiders manipulate for their own ends.
The Texas Lyceum poll was conducted by telephone between June 5th and June 12th. The poll has a margin of error of about three percent.