May 20, 2024

A month after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texans are overwhelmingly critical of law enforcement’s response to the shooting, and a majority feel it’s important to investigate their response. Most Texans are concerned about another mass shooting. 

Texans rate Gov. Abbott’s response to Uvalde more negatively than positively. 

Nearly half of Texans report that the Uvalde shooting has spurred them to support some gun restrictions, and there is support in Texas for some measures. 

In backing many potential gun measures, Texas looks much like the nation as a whole.

We see bipartisan backing for measures like universal background checks and making the minimum age for buying an AR-15 at least 20 years old. But there are more partisan differences on policies focused on the guns themselves. Most Republicans oppose an AR-15 ban in Texas, and more than half oppose a red-flag law, in which a court can order the temporary removal of a gun from a person deemed to be a potential danger. 

More than half also disapprove of Abbott’s overall job performance, but Abbott still leads Beto O’Rourke by eight points among likely voters in the race for governor.   

Senator John Cornyn is getting mixed marks from his own party on representing Texas’ interests as it relates to guns, and this is dragging down Cornyn’s overall job approval rating, which is just 35% among Texans overall.

The Uvalde shooting

Almost nine in 10 Texans feel Uvalde law enforcement could have done more to stop the shooter. Criticism is widespread across demographic and political groups.  



Abbott gets negative marks from younger Texans, women and Black and Latino people for his handling of the Uvalde shooting. Majorities of both Democrats and independents think he’s done a bad job, but most in his own party rate his response positively. 


Concern about mass shootings, gun policy

About eight in 10 Texans are concerned about more mass shootings in Texas like the one in Uvalde, including almost half who are “very concerned.”  Women express more concern than men do. Latino and Black people in Texas are more likely than White people to be very concerned about a mass shooting.


For about half of Texans, the shooting at Robb elementary has made them more likely to support some gun restrictions. Democrats, whose party has long backed restrictions on guns, are particularly likely to say this, but they are joined by three in 10 Republicans who also say that the shooting has made them more inclined to favor some measures. 


Texans broadly support background checks and having a minimum age of at least 21. There is majority backing for a “red flag” law in Texas and a ban on the AR-15, but more division among Texans on these measures. 



Texans’ views on these measures are in line with those of Americans overall.


Texans’ opinions on gun policy measures are connected to what they think would be most effective in trying to prevent mass shootings.

Republicans tend to focus on measures not related to guns: more religion and faith in people’s lives, better mental health services and more armed security in public places. Democrats look for more gun-related restrictions — including background checks and red-flag laws, along with more mental health services.




Sen. John Cornyn

Republicans who think Cornyn has done a bad job on gun policy overwhelmingly disapprove of his overall job performance. Cornyn’s job approval among Republicans is 20 points lower than it is for Ted Cruz. 

Most of the interviewing for the poll was conducted as the legislation was being considered and before it was passed. More Texas Republicans said they oppose the legislation that was being considered than favor it. The Texas public overall is more inclined to favor it. 




Gun owners in Texas 

Gun owners in Texas, like those in the country overall, are more likely to identify as Republican than Democrat, and that’s reflected in some of their views on gun policies, which are similar to Republicans generally. 


But what does being a gun owner represent? Far and away the top answer is “protection”, followed by “responsibility”, ” freedom” and “self-reliance.” These sentiments are similar across demographics of gun owners, including both men and women.


Politics and the race for governor

Gov. Abbott gets mixed results when Texans look at the job he’s doing. Most Republicans like the job he’s doing, most Democrats do not, while independents are split down the middle. Still, in a state that leans more red than the rest of the country, he is viewed as doing a better job as governor than Joe Biden is as president. 


Despite his low approval marks, early polling shows Greg Abbott with an eight-point lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, if the election for governor of Texas were held today. 


This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted with a statewide representative sample of 1,075 U.S. adult residents in Texas interviewed between June 22-27, 2022. The sample was weighted to be representative of adults statewide according to gender, age, race, education and geographic region based on the U.S. Census Current Population Survey, as well as to 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is ±4.7 points for the total sample.


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