Texas Tribune, University of Texas at Austin to Partner on Polls

Oct. 29, 2009

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Tribune, a new non-profit, nonpartisan public media organization based in Austin, will sponsor five public opinion polls that will be conducted over the next 16 months by The University of Texas at Austin's Texas Politics Project.

The collaboration between the Tribune and the university will build on the political polling that the Texas Politics Project has conducted since 2008. The polls will focus on upcoming primary and general elections as well as Texans' views on key state and national issues.

By sponsoring the research, the Tribune will ensure that its readers and all Texans have access to complete data sets from the Texas Politics Project's research team, led by Project Director James Henson and Government Professor Daron Shaw.

"The near-disappearance of independent polling in Texas has hastened the decline of public discourse on the big issues we face," said Evan Smith, the CEO and editor in chief of the Tribune. "Joining up with Jim and Daron allows us to engage Texans in a way that's consistent with the Tribune's mission."

"As the largest research university in the state, The University of Texas at Austin has a vital role to play in studying and analyzing the political dynamics in Texas," said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. "Working with the Texas Tribune on these polls will help us better understand how Texans feel about the key candidates and issues of the day and what that says about our state."

Results of the first poll of more than800 Texans will be released when the Tribune's destination site, texastribune.org, goes live next Tuesday, Nov. 3. Four other polls of comparable sample size will be conducted by February 2011. The methodology and data sets will also be available at the Texas Politics Project Web site.

"I can't think of a more appropriate partner than the Texas Tribune," said Henson, who along with Shaw will be blogging on the Tribune's site beginning next week. "Through the Texas Politics Project Web site, we've always strived to use digital media to provide resources about politics and government to the general public.  A polling partnership with the Tribune is the perfect way to work toward this goal."

"Teaming up with the Tribune provides an excellent opportunity to share our survey research results with a wider audience of the public, including those who closely watch and report on politics in Texas," said Shaw.

About the Texas Politics Project
The Texas Politics Project is affiliated with the Department of Government in the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. The project supports state-mandated university instruction in the workings of Texas government and helps Texans become more thoughtful and effective participants in their government. The Project builds on Web-accessible video, audio, graphical, and textual formats to foster student and citizen interest and to provide instructors and students with a comprehensive set of tools for teaching and learning. It also sponsors a speaker series and conducts public opinion polls.

About the Texas Tribune
The Texas Tribune is a non-profit, nonpartisan media organization whose mission is to promote civic engagement and discourse on the public policy, politics, government, and other matters of statewide interest. Based in the Texas capital, the Tribune will publish original news reporting online and host conferences and similar on-the-record, open-to-the-public events. Individual, corporate and foundation philanthropy will provide much of its operating budget; other revenue sources will include content syndication and multi-platform brand extensions.

For more information, contact: Gary Susswein, Office of the President, 512-471-4945;  James Henson, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services, College of Liberal Arts, 512-471-0090.

3 Comments to "Texas Tribune, University of Texas at Austin to Partner on Polls"

1.  Gus García said on Nov. 5, 2009

Congratulations! Evan Smith and Texas Tribune are the best possible partners for this project. Evan has a long and distinguished record of service to the people of our state. Best wishes for success.

2.  Mike said on Nov. 5, 2009

This makes me incredibly nervous. I have very little trust in the ideological agendas of the vast majority of higher education. In most every poll of faculty at UT Austin and most universities it shows liberals or Democrats outnumber conservatives or Republicans by huge, huge margins. With the attempts by the current administration to indoctrinate Americans using every means possible (NEA/Obama Campaign operations out of the White House, grade school singing in the classroom that laud our dear leader, etc.) I question how objective this endeavor will be and if it is actually being set up to advance the ideology of the left.

I read "nonpartisan" with a great deal of skepticism because so many groups claim to be but aren't in reality. You can have a liberal or conservative agenda in your nonpartisan organization, just don't mention the word Republican or Democrat and you're OK there.

Nope, with the current climate of politicizing every institution of government and with the overwhelming bias that already exists in higher education today I'm dubious about the agenda at stake here. If UT Austin is going forward with this they need to do a better job of convincing us that this will be truly non-partisan. They need political leaders from each party to sign on with public support. And not squishy leaders from yesteryear who maintain their old party identification but often vote for the other one.

And there must be adequate oversight of the in-house operations by both sides. This is not unfounded paranoia. It is the only way to ensure that taxpayer money and the good name of the institution is not used to advance a political agenda that's at odds with many of the people in the state of Texas, UT students and their alma mater.

3.  Marvin A. Rich said on Nov. 5, 2009

I would like to particpate in this project.