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James Henson

Texas Tribune pollster and director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin

@jamesrhenson

James Henson is a pollster for The Texas Tribune and the director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also teaches government.

Latest Columns

Why the polls could be wrong

Ted Cruz has led Beto O’Rourke in every recent poll by anywhere between 2 and 9 points, making it highly unlikely for O’Rourke to actually be leading on Election Day. But it’s also true that a more awakened electorate has made for a more interesting campaign. It has also magnified the uncertainty that everyone should expect to hover over all political polling.

A change in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll’s primary voter sample

In the February 2018 poll released today, we rely on past vote history to determine whether or not we should consider someone to be a likely voter, and in particular, past primary voting history. For a respondent’s opinion to be considered in our primary trial ballot estimates, he or she had to have participated in a Texas party primary in 2012, 2014, or 2016.

The perils of primary election polling

Public pollsters sample an electorate based on the best available information and best judgments about how to approach that estimate of likely voters, take respondents at their word, report the results, and then hope that those results offer an accurate reflection of what’s going to happen. At the heart of this exercise is a great deal of uncertainty — a condition of all polling, but one that especially defines primary election polling.

Suburban swingers shaking Texas marriage to the GOP?

Fantasies of widespread voter abandonment of Republicans for Democrats in the Texas suburbs remain far-fetched, but data from the last three University of Texas/Texas Tribune polls does show that suburban attitudes towards President Trump in Texas could become cause for Texas GOP concern if the party continues on its current trajectory.

The Texas GOP goes nativist in 2016

Renewed fears of terrorist attacks and a fiercely competitive Republican presidential nominating contest have brought to the surface a set of nativist attitudes that have not received such full-throated expression in American politics for at least several decades.

Waging the War for Christmas in Texas

Texas politicians have been in the front line of the War on Christmas in recent weeks, and one doesn't have to question the sincerity of their beliefs to notice that the political context of taking the side of the aggrieved in this war is also a form of preaching to the choir.