Elections

Most Texas likely voters don’t believe either voter fraud or voter suppression are problems close to home, poll finds

The survey by the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs found sharp divisions along partisan and racial lines over which constituted the larger threat to fair elections in the United States.

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media
Voters in Harris County wait in line at a polling location during the 2022 primaries.

A new poll finds that half of all Texans believe voter fraud is a serious problem across the county. But it also shows most Texans don't believe it's a problem closer to home.

The survey, conducted by the University of Houston's Hobby School of Public Affairs, found 50% of likely Texas voters believe voter fraud is a major problem in the United States. But just 19% believe it's a major problem in Texas, while only 12% believe it's a problem in their own county.

"Their personal experience and the experience that they have seen in Texas and counties leads them to know that there really wasn't a problem with voter fraud in past elections," said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones, who coauthored the report, "whereas they get more of their information from the broader media about the United States, and therefore they're much more likely to believe that while voter fraud isn't a problem in Texas, it is a problem elsewhere."

The poll found stark differences along party lines, with more than 70% of those supporting Greg Abbott for governor saying voter fraud is a major problem in the U.S. compared to just over 20% of Beto O'Rourke voters. Respondents also differed sharply on racial lines. Some 55% of white likely voters believe voter fraud is a major problem in the United States, compared to 31% of Black likely voters.

The study found similar differences in how Texas likely voters perceived voter suppression as a threat. Thirty-seven percent of Texas likely voters said voter suppression is a major problem in the United States. That decreased to 29% who believe it's a major problem in Texas and to 16% regarding their own county.

Again, researchers found significant differences along partisan and racial lines. Fifty-eight percent of O'Rourke voters believe voter suppression is a major problem in the United States, compared to 22% of Abbott voters. Fifty-one percent of Black likely voters think voter suppression is the biggest threat to fair elections in the U.S., compared to 38% of Latino likely voters and 22% of white likely voters.

"It highlights the increasingly polarized nature of elections," Jones said, "where Republicans are increasingly likely to think that somehow Democrats are going to engage in voter fraud to cheat them out of their rightful victory, whereas Democrats believe that Republicans are somehow going to utilize voter suppression to cheat them out of their rightful victory."

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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