Texas voters are as concerned about border security as about the pandemic, UT/TT Poll finds

Unaccompanied migrant boys during the one hour they get for exercise at the CBP migrant processing center in El Paso on March 29, 2021. (Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune)
Unaccompanied migrant boys during the one hour they get for exercise at the CBP migrant processing center in El Paso on March 29, 2021. (Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The Texas Tribune)

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Texas voters concerns reflect a surge at the state’s Mexican border, UT/TT Poll finds.

The pandemic and the border top the list of Texas voters’ concerns about issues facing the country, with 16% pointing to the coronavirus and 16% choosing immigration and border security as the top issues, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

That’s a marked change from the previous poll, reflecting both the crisis on the border and continued improvement in key pandemic measurements and increasing numbers of vaccinations. In the February UT/TT Poll, coronavirus (24%), political corruption/leadership (16%) and the economy (8%) led the list of trouble facing the nation; immigration and border security were listed as top concerns by 7%.

Partisans have distinctly different views: Coronavirus is the top concern of 30% of Democrats, while 31% of Republican voters list immigration and border security as the most important problems facing the country.

The same shift is evident in voters’ choices of top issues facing the state. Border security and immigration remain the biggest problems, according to 37% of Texas voters, followed by the coronavirus (12%) and political corruption/leadership (11%). In that February poll, border security and immigration combined were top concerns for 25% of voters, with coronavirus at 19%.

A 65% majority of Republican voters chose either immigration or border security as their top concern. Among Democrats, 24% chose coronavirus and 22% chose political corruption/leadership. Only 3% of Republicans said the pandemic is the most important problem facing Texas; 6% of Democrats pointed to immigration and border security.

A 59% majority of Texas voters — including 92% of the state’s Republican voters — disapprove of President Joe Biden’s handling of immigration and border security. Democrats are more approving, but their 49% support of his actions in this area fall short of a majority among his own party’s voters. Only 18% of Democrats said they approve “strongly” of the president’s handling of matters on the U.S. border with Mexico.