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Texas Southern University, University of Houston Partner for Texas Trends Study

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

In the spirit of Texas legends Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland, and Bill Hobby, Texas Southern University professors Dr. Michael O. Adams and Carroll G. Robinson have initiated an innovative research partnership between TSU’s Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs and the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs.

This week, both institutions released the first two of several reports as part of the Texas Trends Survey, a five-year project to study Texas’s changing population and opinions. The first report of the 2021 Texas Trends Survey examines Texans’ attitudes and preferences related to public policies governing abortion and the requirement that public school students compete only in UIL sports associated with their biological sex. Read the Texas Trends Survey 2021 / Abortion and Transgender Athlete Policies to learn in detail where Texans stand on these important issues, including how opinions differ across gender, race/ethnicity, generation, and partisan divides.

The second report, Texas Trends Survey 2021 / Election Reform & Redistricting, takes a look at several hotly debated election-reform issues – including bans on drive-through voting and 24-hour voting – as well as redistricting that made frequent fuel for headlines during the regular state legislative session and the three special sessions this year. 

“Elections are the gateway to making our democracy work, and the opinions of the people on how their election system is working is important information for our elected representatives to know,” said Carroll Robinson, associate professor with the TSU Jordan-Leland School of Public Affairs. “The data and insights in this inaugural annual survey will help Texans and our elected officials build the best election system possible for our state.”

To the survey’s question about adding one hour to every day of early voting, responses were clear: 86% supported the measure, only 14% opposed. But some topics drew varied support:

Drive-through voting: A ban on drive-through voting (exceptions for voters physically unable to enter the polling place) was supported by 59% of respondents and opposed by 31%.

24-hour voting: Requiring early-voting polls to open no earlier than 6 a.m. and close no later than 10 p.m. drew support from 63%, opposition from 37%.

Partisan drawing of voting districts: One political party having control of the redistricting process drew general disfavor. Among Democrat respondents, 76% considered the scenario a problem; 45% of Republican respondents agreed (providing a plurality of the Republican respondents, though not a majority).

In addition to a representative sample of all Texans, the Texas Trends surveys include an oversample of people of color to allow for an objective and statistically valid report of their opinions and experiences. The data gleaned from the annual surveys and reports will be shared with policymakers, business and community leaders, academics and the general public. With objective data in hand, decision-makers throughout the state will be equipped to determine the best routes leading to a better Texas for everyone. For more information about the partnership, visit TSU-UH Texas Trends Survey.

“This partnership is part of our commitment and efforts to reconnect the Jordan-Leland School of Public Affairs to its historic mission of serving as an academic think tank to address urban challenges,” said Adams, who is also the director of TSU’s Executive Master of Public Administration program. “We must be involved in the research and discussions that will make Houston and Harris County a more resilient and livable environment.”

The Texas Trends research team is composed of Adams, Robinson, and the Hobby School’s Renee Cross, Johanna Luttrell, Pablo Pinto, Sunny Wong, Gail Buttorf and Mark Jones.

“The power of the project is that it brings together two of the state’s most important universities and our schools of public affairs to engage in a long-term substantive project focused on understanding the issues of concern to Texans in general but with a specialized focus on people of color across the state at all economic levels during what will be a period of enormous social and economic change driven by technological, energy and environmental transformations,” added Robinson.

The next proposed phase will include a UH-TSU graduate student project using the data in the spring of 2022. One professor and/or post-doctoral researcher at each university will lead the collaboration and oversee the students’ work. A workshop will be held to introduce basic survey data analysis and report writing. Students will work together to produce a report and presentation (perhaps as a capstone project) in April. A component of the presentation will be to develop short videos to use on social media including TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The second survey will be conducted in the summer of 2022.

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Last updated: 10/29/2021