Twice as many Texans prefer to vote in person instead of by mail

Spectrum News/Ipsos poll finds that only half are confident their vote would count if they voted by mail

The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Sara Machi Research Analyst, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, October 21, 2020 –  A new Spectrum News/Ipsos polls conducted in Texas explores gubernatorial approval, sentiments toward COVID-19, voting behavior, and more. 

Detailed Findings

Slightly more approve of the job Gov. Greg Abbott is doing on handling COVID-19 than disapprove (48% - 43%, respectively). He earns slightly higher marks on COVID-19, and handling protests and social unrest, in the Dallas area compared to other areas of the state.

  • By and large, COVID-19 is the main issue in the state; 57% cite this as the main problem. Next tier items: immigration (26%), unemployment (25%), and healthcare (24%).

There is a strong preference for voting in person – twice as many Texans prefer to vote in person instead of by mail. Just half of Texas residents are confident their vote would be counted if they voted by mail.

  • Fifty-nine percent prefer to vote in person – most of those say before Election Day (36% vs. 22% for on Election Day). Just over a quarter (29%) prefer to vote by mail. At the same time, a majority (62%) are concerned about the possibility of mail-in voting fraud in the election; this number rises to 81% among Republicans (versus 53% among Democrats).
  • Unlike other areas of the country where we see a partisan divide on voting preferences – with Democrats preferring mail-in voting and Republicans in-person – a majority of both Democrats (58%) and Republicans (69%) say they prefer to vote in person.
  • Three-quarters are confident their vote would be counted if they voted in person on Election Day (78%) or before (76%). However, just 50% feel the same way about a mail or absentee ballot, while 41% are not confident. Levels of confidence that a mail-in vote would be counted are particularly low among rural residents, women, and Texans under age 55.
  • Most are in favor of expanding mail-in voting, though; 56% support all Texans being able to vote by mail without needing an excuse. Support is highest among Black and Hispanic Texans, Democrats, those with a college degree and household income above $100,000. Fewer than half of Republicans, white, non-college Texans, and white women support this.

Some Texans are feeling an economic strain due to COVID-19. To combat the effects of the virus, there are mixed feelings about vaccines, but there is broad support for a mask mandate in public spaces.

  • Overall, 46% say they are having, or had, trouble paying their bills as a result of the pandemic, while 48% disagree. This includes 60% of parents with a child under 18 at home, 55% who live in an urban area, and 51% of Texans who have a full-time job.
  • There is a similarly even split on whether people will take the first generation COVID-19 vaccine: 44% say they will take it when it is approved by the FDA, compared to 41% who will not. There is a significant difference by educational attainment: 59% of Texans with a college degree say they will take the vaccine, versus 38% of those without a college education.
  • Two-thirds (65%) support a state law mandating masks to be worn at all times in public. This includes 81% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans. By region, support is highest in the Dallas area (71%).
  • More than half (54%) agree that all colleges and universities in the state should be closed and only offer virtual classes.

A majority of Texans support the Black Lives Matter movement and agree that racism and excessive force by police are problematic.

  • Fifty-five percent support the Black Lives Matter movement. Three in five agree that racism is a significant problem in Texas (59%) and that police using excessive force against Black Americans is a widespread problem (60%).
  • However, just 40% agree that recent protests around racial justice will bring about positive change, compared to 45% who disagree.
  • Views around racial injustice and are deeply divided by party lines. By at least a two-to-one margin, Democrats are more likely to feel racism is a significant problem in the state (79% vs. 36% of Republicans) and to support the Black Lives Matter movement (84% vs. 28% of Republicans).

About the Study   

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 7-15, 2020, on behalf of Spectrum News. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 adults age 18+ from Texas was interviewed online in English.

The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the population of Texas using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,000, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.0 percentage points).

For more information on this news release, please contact: 

Chris Jackson 
Senior Vice President, US   
Public Affairs   
+1 202 420-2025   
[email protected]     

Mallory Newall 
Director, US   
Public Affairs   
+1 202 420-2014   
[email protected]     

Kate Silverstein 
Media Relations Specialist, US   
Public Affairs   
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected] 

About Ipsos   

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.   

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.   

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).    ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP          


The author(s)
  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Sara Machi Research Analyst, Public Affairs