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Anti-school choice Republicans are unpopular with Texas GOP primary voters


Daily Caller News Foundation

A large majority of Texas Republican primary voters told pollsters they’d be less likely to vote in Texas GOP primaries for a House member who had opposed school choice during the 2023 legislative sessions, according to a survey released Tuesday.

Several Republicans banded together with Democrats in several legislative sessions in 2023 to block school choice in Texas, and Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott endorsed primary challengers against the Republicans who voted against his school choice agenda. Now, new polling suggests that Republican primary voters may lean toward the candidates Abbott endorsed, with 60% saying they’d be less likely to vote for incumbents that voted against school choice and 16% of voters saying they’d be less likely to support incumbents who voted for vouchers, according to the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston.

“School choice enjoys broad support in Texas and has picked up considerable momentum. Governor Abbott has been one of the country’s most vocal champions of school choice, and the Texas Senate passed school choice four times this year. The Texas House remains entrenched with teachers’ unions and special interests. The teachers’ unions endorsed 18 of the 21 Republicans who voted to strip ESAs during their last election,” Nathan Cunneen, a spokesperson for the American Federation for Children, an organization that advocates for school choice, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Abbott endorsed primary challengers to every single Republican who voted against his school choice agenda. Among Texas Republican primary voters, 64% of them said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Abbott.

Abbott made school choice a top priority for the 2023 legislative session, according to The Texas Tribune. The Texas Legislature held a fourth special legislative session to address vouchers on Dec. 5 and failed to establish school choice one month after a failed third session for the same reason.

Abbott said that the issue was important to advance parental rights and would allow parents to pull their kids out of schools promoting a “woke” agenda, according to the Tribune. Those opposed to vouchers said they would strip public schools of the funds necessary to run properly.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law in March 2023 that created a universal school choice program, allowing families to receive up to $8,000 to cover education expenses. Several other Republican states signed similar school choice bills, including Arkansas,  IowaUtahSouth Carolina, and Oklahoma.

The survey questioned 1,500 likely Texas voters and was conducted between Jan. 11 and Jan. 24, with a margin of error of +/- 2.5%.

Abbott did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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