TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The coronavirus pandemic has pushed people all over the world to their limit. Political leaders from the local level all the way up to President Trump have been forced to figure out ways to keep the public safe while still maintaining a sense of social order.
In Texas, Gov. Gregg Abbott is receiving bipartisan support around the state for his handling of the crisis, according to a UT Tyler/Dallas Morning News poll.
The poll found that 68% of voters approve of the job their local leaders are doing during the pandemic. Gov. Abbott received wide support for his policies, including from nearly half of Democrats:
- Republicans: 86%
- Independents: 57%
- Democrats: 46%
Gov. Abbott activated phase one of his plan on Friday to slowly re-open the state after many businesses have been closed to the public for the last four to six weeks.
The plan allowed for the following businesses to open their doors, but only to 25% capacity:
- Retail stores
- Movie theaters
- Museums and libraries (hands-on exhibits must remain closed)
- All licensed healthcare offices
Abbott said that if there was not a significant flare-up of cases for the following two weeks, he would upgrade the order to 50% capacity.
There is an exception that if a small county has less than five reported cases, they may start at the 50% mark if local leaders allow it.
Abbott released his plan on April 27, the same day that the UT Tyler poll was completed so it remains unclear what the public’s reaction to the re-opening has been.
In the same poll, it was also found that despite the slow re-opening, the vast majority of Texans would feel uncomfortable attending a sporting event. Slightly more than 80% of voters would not feel any comfort in such an environment regardless of the sport:
- Football (81%)
- Baseball (81%)
- Basketball (82%)
- Racing (83%)
- Soccer (83%)
The Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler poll reflects a statewide random sample of 1,187 adult residents during the 10 days between April 18 and April 27. The mixed-mode sample includes 192 residents who were contacted by random phone calls to registered voters and 995 residents that were randomly selected from a panel of registered voters that have opted-in to take surveys through a company called Dynata. The online and phone surveys were conducted in English and Spanish.
The data were weighted to be representative of the Texas adult population. Iterative weighting was used to balance sample demographics to the state population parameters. The sample is balanced to match parameters for gender, age, race/ethnicity and education using an iterated process known as raking. These parameters were derived from 2018 Current Population Survey and 2017 American Communities Survey. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the characteristics of the sample closely reflect the characteristics the Texas population.
In this poll, the sampling error for 1,187 random adult (18+) residents in Texas is +/- 2.85 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval.