Undergraduate Students Find More Texans Backing Obama, Hating Stimulus, Through Recent Earl Survey Telephone Inquiry

Political science majors polled about 580 Texans aged 18 or older across the state from Feb. 16-March 8.

For a Republican-leaning state, more Texans seem to support President Barack Obama but hate the idea of his economic recovery plan, according to a Texas Tech University poll of voting-aged Texans. Political science majors polled about 580 Texans aged 18 or older across the state from Feb. 16-March 8. The survey has been conducted each semester since the spring of 2003 by political science majors in the department's undergraduate research methods course and is administered at the Earl Survey Research Laboratory by the Department of Political Science. Assistant professor Cindy Rugeley is instructor of the class. "Basically, for a Democrat, Obama's not doing too badly in Texas," Rugeley said. "He's got a 44.6 percent overall approval rating, compared to 39 percent who disapprove. Most all of the Democrats like him, and many of the independents approve of him - so far. For a very Republican state, Texans seem to be giving him a chance." Nationwide, a recent Gallup poll found Obama's approval rating at 67 percent overall. However, when it comes to the recently passed $787 billion stimulus package, Texans are not amused, she said.  About 48.9 percent opposed the stimulus, while only 40 percent supported it. Also, 32.3 percent thought the stimulus would help the economy, 29 percent thought it would hurt and 31.3 thought it wouldn't make any difference. "I'll tell you Texans don't like this stimulus package - not one bit," Rugeley said. "It's not popular at all. Texas is a state where historically citizens have not trusted big government and don't support government involvement in the economy. This survey reflects that mistrust." On other issues, Texans:
  • disapproved of the way the U.S. Congress is handling its job by 67 percent. Nationwide, a recent Gallup poll found Congress's approval rating to be at an all-time high at 39 percent.
  • were divided as to whether native son George W. Bush's presidency was a success or a failure.
  • gave former President Ronald Reagan higher marks than other recent presidents, with almost 70 percent saying he was outstanding or above average as a president.
  • apparently prefer television to other forms of media. 49.6 percent said they get the majority of their information on current events of the world from television. More Texans reported getting their news from the Internet than from newspapers.
The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.07 percent, meaning that 95 percent of the time, results would fall within +/- 4.07 points from what would be obtained by interviewing all adult Texans. In the survey, 41.8 percent of voters classified themselves as Republicans, 22.3 percent said they were Democrats and 26 percent said they were independents. Those remaining either didn't know or declined to respond. For more information, visit www.ttu.edu/~esrl. Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at www.media.ttu.edu. CONTACT: CindyRugeley,assistant professor of political science, Department of Political Science, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-4081 ext. 223, or cindy.rugeley@ttu.edu