Poll: Texas Voters Rate State Official Job Approval, the Economy, and Who is to Blame for Economic Crisis

Jun 03, 2009, 09:00 ET from Texas Credit Union League

AUSTIN, Texas, June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Texas Credit Union League (TCUL) today released a summary of results from a telephone poll of 800 Texas registered voters regarding current Texas voter perceptions of the state's elected leadership, top issues, the Texas economy, and the economic crisis, and other financial sector issues. The poll was conducted April 23, 25-26, 2009 with a 3.5% margin of error by a bi-partisan political polling team of Public Opinion Strategies (a nationally-recognized Republican firm based in Virginia) and Hamilton Campaigns (a nationally-recognized Democratic firm based in Florida).

"Texas voters are more optimistic than the rest of the country about our state's economy and surviving this national current financial crisis," said Buddy Gill, TCUL's Chief Advocacy Officer. "We're delighted, but not surprised, to continue see credit union consistently rank as the most popular of any financial services institution today. Credit unions weren't part of the problems that caused the national financial crisis, but we can be part of the solution to get our country back on its feet."

"Our polling confirms the intense loyalty of credit union members to their credit union. TCUL continues to work closely with our elected leaders to make sure the on-going needs of our credit unions representing 7 million Texas members are met in the legislative and regulatory arenas."

Among the key findings (also see graphs available for download here

http://www.tcul.coop/sites/25043ee8-a7e7-4aeb-8304-a91b5e7553c9/uploads/Texas_Credit_Union_League_2009_Voter_Poll_results_for_Media_Release.ppt ):

Texas Voter Mood and View of Texas Economy. By a margin of 55% to 31%, the majority of Texas voters say the state is headed in the right direction rather than off track. This is an improvement in the electorate view of the direction of the state from 2004, when voters were more narrowly divided 46% to 40% on this electorate mood question.

Texas voters are mixed on the current state of the Texas economy, with only 3% rating it "excellent," a near-majority 50% "saying good," 36% "not-so-good," and 10% "poor." The plurality of votes are optimistic, with 45% thinking the Texas economy will get better in the next two years, while 22% think it will worsen and 29% see it remaining the same.

Top Texas Issues. Texas voters name the economy and jobs (42% combined first and second mention) as the top concern in the state, followed by illegal immigration (35% combined) and education (35%) tied for second place. Health care (25%), moral values (21%), property taxes (17%), state spending (10%) all score double digits. There are differences by political party, with illegal immigration being the top GOP issue (44%) as well as for Independents (43%), while the economy/jobs was the top issue among Democrats (50%).

Texas Elected Official Job Approval. The poll tested the overall job approval ratings of various statewide political figures. On the federal level, US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison scored the highest with a 66% to 18% net positive job approval rating. Senator John Cornyn scored 47% to 22% net positive, and Texas voters give President Barack Obama a 49% to 40% net positive job approval rating.

Statewide, Governor Rick Perry scored a 52% to 40% net positive job approval rating. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst scored a 37% to 18% net positive, followed by Attorney General Greg Abbott at 44% to 11% and State Comptroller Susan Combs at 44% to 9% net positive job approval scores.

Interestingly, in anticipation of the possible 2010 March Republican primary between incumbent Governor Rick Perry and Senate Kay Bailey Hutchison, their job approval scores are virtually identical among self-identified Republican primary voters, Republican voter subgroups by ideology, and even regular "Rush Limbaugh" talk radio show listeners.

Who is To Blame for National Financial Crisis? When asked an open-ended question on "who is most to blame for causing the current national financial crisis," interestingly Texas voters seem to point more fingers at an aspect of federal government than at the private sector. Sixteen percent of Texas voters (16%) volunteer former President George W. Bush as most to blame, followed by 14% volunteering Congress, 10% naming the federal government, 3% naming President Barack Obama, and 1% blaming the Federal Reserve. Fourteen percent (14%) volunteer "banks," tied with 14% volunteering "greed/people spending too much" as most to blame, followed by 6% saying mortgage companies/lending institutions, 4% Wall Street, 4% large corporations, 2% con artists like Bernie Madoff. Credit unions are not viewed as being part of the problem.

Overall Bank Image and Popularity Suffers; Credit Unions Popularity Remains Very High. The image and popularity of banks with voters has taken a negative hit since 2004, with banks being rated 55% favorable to 39% unfavorable (compared to 69% to 17% in 2004). The image of credit unions has remained virtually unchanged at 75% favorable to 8% unfavorable, statistically the same as the 2004 finding of 77% favorable to 9% unfavorable. What remarkable is how popular credit unions are far beyond their own membership levels -- almost half (45%) of all Texas voters are members of a Texas credit union, up slightly from 42% in 2004.

Public Policy: Texas Voters Allowing Credit Unions to Make More Small Business Loans to Their Members. Voters favor the elimination of the 12.25% of assets "cap" on member business loans Congress placed on credit unions eleven years ago as a viable way to help get credit into entrepreneur's hands as other financial institutions pull back on lending during the recession.

Poll Background. TCUL regularly monitors public opinion on political and public policy issues that may affect credit unions and the financial services marketplace, and this April 2009 survey of registered voters represents our fourth such commissioned poll since 2004.

About Texas Credit Union League(TM) The Texas Credit Union League is the official trade association for credit unions within the State of Texas. The League represents, on a state and federal level, nearly 600 credit unions state-wide, which are owned by over seven million members (about one-third of the state's population). Organized in 1934, the Texas Credit Union League protects credit unions and promotes their growth, strength and unity. It accomplishes the mission through advocacy services, regulatory and compliance advice, training and event activities, marketing and public relations actions, and by delivering innovative, high value and profitable business solutions to the members.

For more information, visit www.tcul.coop and www.creditunionmember.org; write to us at 4455 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1100, Dallas, Texas 75244, or call us at 469-385-6400. Texas credit unions - strong, safe, and secure for 75 years.

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SOURCE Texas Credit Union League