New poll shows how Texans feel about AG Ken Paxton's impeachment days before trial

Nick Natario Image
Friday, September 1, 2023
Two-thirds of senators needed to throw AG Ken Paxton out of office
The trial to decide whether AG Ken Paxton will remain in office will begin in a few days. Here's how some Texans feel about his impeachment.

New numbers show how Texans view the impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton just days before the trial takes place.

Following the Labor Day holiday, a historic trial will take place in Austin

In May, the Texas House overwhelmingly voted to impeach the state's top attorney. The House vote to impeach Ken Paxton was 121-23, with 60 Republicans and 61 Democrats in support.

This is only the third time in the state's nearly 200-year history something like this has happened. Since May, Paxton hasn't served as attorney general.

House members accuse Paxton of abuse of power, bribery, and asking for taxpayers to pay around $3 million in settlement money for a lawsuit involving whistleblowers who spoke out against the attorney general.

Rice University Political Science Professor Bob Stein explained what the trial could look like.

"It won't look like 'Law & Order' and it won't look like 'Judge Judy,'" Stein explained. "I think what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is looking for is some level of dignity, salinity - he takes it seriously. I think you'll see some of the best lawyers you'll see in the country."

RELATED: Ken Paxton's legal team works to invalidate every article of impeachment before trial

New numbers show few Republicans believe the impeachment is justified

On Friday, a UT/Texas Politics Project Poll showed how Texans viewed Paxton's impeachment. Over the past couple weeks, the group spoke to 1,200 Texans.

It found 47% of all participants felt the impeachment is justified. However, when you break it down by political party, it's much different.

Among Republicans, 24% believe Paxton's actions justify removing him from office. For Democrats, it's 71%. Independents, it's 42%.

The numbers haven't changed much since the group polled Texans earlier this summer. Stein said polling like this could play a big factor in Paxton's impeachment trial.

"It's a political decision," Stein explained. "It is not a decision of guilt or innocence. It may have been that for the House, when they indicted, but here, I think it's a political decision and those are numbers that should make Mr. Paxton feel very good."

One thing that has changed for Paxton this summer is his favorability. The same group found Paxton's job approval from Republicans was 65% in April. In August, it dropped to 46%.

SEE ALSO: Suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton raises money as he fights 'Kangaroo Court,' new filing shows

If you're waiting for a verdict, it could be a while

The trial starts on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and experts believe it could last a while. Stein said most likely, it'll last a couple weeks, but it could last upwards of six weeks.

State senators will act as jurors. In order to convict, two-thirds, or 21 of 30 senators, need to vote to convict.

There are 31 senators, but State Senator Angela Paxton, who's married to Ken Paxton, isn't allowed to vote, but she will be present.

ABC13's Nick Natario and Tom Abrahams will be in Austin for the trial, and will have live coverage starting on Monday.

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