A growing number of Texans say the population boom has been a bad thing for the state and are worried the economy is getting worse.
About 40% of Texans say the surge in newcomers in recent years has been a net negative, versus 34% who view it as good, according to a poll released Wednesday by the University of Texas and Texas Politics Project. Among Texans who said they're aware of the surge in population, it's the highest share who view it negatively since polling began in 2019.
The survey suggests a disconnect between the politicians who frequently tout the hoards of people moving to the state as evidence of successful policies and the residents who feel the effects of more crowded roads, higher property prices and overcrowded schools. Texas' population grew more than any other state in the decade through 2020, and the boom has continued since then, as companies such as Tesla and Oracle have moved their headquarters to the state.
"It's odd that at a time when incumbents, particularly in an election year in Texas, continue to talk about the virtue of growth and taking credit for that, that we are now seeing a plurality of Texans having doubts about the impact of that growth," said James Henson, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Texans said the economy and inflation were among their biggest concerns, along with border security and immigration. About 43% said the state's economy has worsened over the past year, with only 20% saying it was doing better -- the most negative outlook since February 2021, according to the poll.
The survey also asked about Texans' views on abortion. A majority -- 54% -- would oppose an automatic ban on abortion if Roe v. Wade was overturned. A new Texas "trigger law" went into effect last year that would ban abortions in the state thirty days after such a ruling.
The poll of 1,000 registered voters in Texas was taken April 14 to April 22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8%.