Texas Tech Survey Predicts McCain to Win Texas

If the election was held today, a majority of Texans would pick Sen. John McCain for president.

If the presidential election was held today, a majority of Texans would pick Sen. John McCain for president, according to a poll of voting-age Texans by undergraduate students at the Earl Survey Research Lab at Texas Tech University. In step with Texas' strong Republican leanings, 58 percent of those polled said they'd vote for McCain, while 29 percent said they'd vote for Sen. Barack Obama, showing that Texans haven not changed their minds since the students polled voters in April. Three percent said they were voting for another candidate while seven percent still had to decide. Students queried more than 800 registered Texas voters in a statewide telephone survey from Oct. 6-26. In the survey, 41 percent of voters classified themselves as Republicans, 22 percent said they were Democrats and 25 percent said they were independents. "Texas remains a conservative state, and the overwhelming majority of citizens consider themselves Republicans," said Dennis Patterson, associate professor of political science who instructs the class that did the survey. "For Democrats to stand a chance of carrying Texas, they either must convince Texans to switch their party loyalties or capture all independent and Democratic voters. There is absolutely no room for error on the part of the Democrats." About 53 percent of Texans believed that McCain's take on current issues was stronger than Obama's. Texans' opinion of President George W. Bush has dwindled, however, as only 36 percent approve of the administration. Nationwide, the president's job approval rating sits at about 25 percent. Also, only 34 percent had confidence that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's $700 billion bailout would work. On other issues, Texans:
  • said job opportunities in the state are good.
  • seem to be reluctant to support an immediate troop withdrawal in Iraq, with 61 percent believing troops should stay.
  • Are divided as to whether sex education and birth control or morality and abstinence should be emphasized to reduce pregnancies among teenagers, though the poll found a slight majority supported sex education and birth control more.
  • A slight majority oppose a federal tax increase to fund programs to prevent illegal immigration.
The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent, meaning that 95 percent of the time, results would fall within +/- 3.4 points from what would be obtained by interviewing all adult Texans. The survey is conducted each semester by political science majors in the department's undergraduate research methods course and is administered at the lab by the Department of Political Science. For more information, visit www.ttu.edu/~esrl. CONTACT: Dennis Patterson, associate professor, Department of Political Science, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-4050, or dennis.patterson@ttu.edu.