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(Metro Creative Graphics)

Editor's Note: This story reflects findings and contains the wording of a new poll by the University of Texas at Tyler's Center for Opinion Research.

A Texas statewide survey of public opinion regarding Democratic presidential candidates released Monday by the University of Texas at Tyler's Center for Opinion Research shows former Vice President Joe Biden holds a commanding lead with 28% support.

His closest rivals are Sens. Bernie Sanders (19%) and Elizabeth Warren (18%). Eleven percent of Texas Democrats remain undecided.

This survey gives an early look at the Democratic primary in Texas after 20% of the voters were without their leading candidate at the start of the month.

The poll found among other things that Biden is ahead among key demographic groups within the Democratic Party. He leads among women (both white and African American) by double digits, older voters (45-plus), and African Americans.

His popularity among black Democrats may be explained in part by their chief consideration for choosing a nominee: someone who will continue the agenda of Barack Obama. That said, Sanders leads Biden by 20% among Latino Democrats and 27% among voters between the ages of 18 and 29 years.

PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL 

President Donald Trump’s job approval is up from the Center of Opinion Research's poll taken in September. It now stands at 43% approval among all registered Texans. His disapproval stands at 49% with 8% not sure.

When asked to consider, with what they currently know, whether Trump should or should not be impeached, 45% support impeachment and 47% do not. Eight percent of respondents were not sure.

The results indicate an ambivalence among Texans on the question of impeachment.

 THE 2020 GENERAL ELECTION

One year out from the 2020 election, Trump is leading all Democrats in head-to-head contests. He beats Biden (+5), Sanders (+4) and Warren (+11).

Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Julian Castro also trail Trump by double digits.

Trump’s support in head-to-heads since September appears to be coming from previously undecided respondents.

DEMOCRATS IN SENATE RACE

The vast majority of Texas Democrats remain undecided on the U.S. senate primary. No candidate is winning double-digit support nor leading outside of the margin of error. Nonetheless, our results reveal stark racial contours among the supporters of the declared candidates.

MJ Hegar (a white woman) is leading by 5% among white voters (followed by former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell, a white man). Meanwhile, state Sen. Royce West, a black man, is leading among black voters by 12%. Finally, Latina organizer and activist Cristina Ramirez is ahead with Latino Democrats by 19%.

INTEREST IN MANDATORY BUYBACK

On gun issues, a plurality of Texans (42%) now disapprove of a mandatory buyback program to turn in all assault weapons for payment (37% approve).

This is a shift from the September survey, which found a near majority approval for such a program. 

The November results indicate that both Republicans and independents have changed their minds. For instance, 33% of Texas Republicans approved of a mandatory buyback in September, that number now stands at 17%. Overall, 21% of Texans are still ambivalent about the issue.

Methodology

The UT Tyler-Texas Opinion Survey reflects a statewide random sample of 1,093 registered voters during the 10 days between Nov. 5 and Nov. 14. The mixed mode sample includes 397 registered voters who took the survey by phone and 696 registered voters 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 registered voter 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 to reflect Texas’ electorate. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the characteristics of the sample closely reflect the characteristics of registered voters in Texas.

In this poll, the sampling error for 1,093 registered voters in Texas is +/- 2.96 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval. The survey’s design asked additional questions to 427 registered voters who identify with the Democratic Party as members or independents that lean toward the party (margin of error of +/- 4.7%).

Danny Mogle has covered news in East Texas for decades. He currently focuses on arts, entertainment and human interest stories and serves as the editor of Lifestyles Magazine.

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