Are voters paying attention to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's legal troubles?

Tom Abrahams Image
Monday, August 21, 2023
Are voters paying attention to Ken Paxton's legal troubles?
Texans who said they were familiar with the Texas AG's legal troubles were more likely to think Ken Paxton's impeachment is warranted.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The impeachment trial for suspended Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton begins in two weeks. But are Texans paying attention to the legal troubles facing the state's top lawyer?

The short answer is, no. According to polling from the University of Texas-Austin Texas Politics Project, people have not paid attention, but that is changing.

In October 2016, 55% of Texans who polled said they knew little to nothing about Paxton's legal troubles.

That is that he was indicted for securities violations. By 2022 that number dropped to 44% and six months later to 42%.

After Paxton's impeachment in June, that number dropped to 27%.

It seems that people who were familiar with those legal troubles were more likely to think the impeachment is warranted.

Nearly three in four (74%) people who know a lot about the trial support the Senate. If they know nothing, it's just one in 10 (10%).

"We know that people don't pay a lot of attention to politics and that their attention is maybe a bit more stirred by scandals or legal difficulties," James Henson, the project's director, said. "The now-suspended attorney general has seen some of both. But, the attorney general, as important as he is in the system of government in Texas, is not what we would think of as one of those 'top-tier officials' that we would say is a household name. For example, for that, you would need a U.S. Senator, a governor, and - right on the bubble there - lieutenant governor. So, I'm not particularly surprised by (the poll). But I think, as it becomes - at least in the political press all Paxton all the time- in the next couple of weeks, with the trial looming, I expect that people will start paying more attention."

The impeachment trial begins the day after Labor Day. It should last between two and three weeks.

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