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Poll: Most Texans oppose Donald Trump's plan to build a border wall

| Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, 10:36 p.m.

AUSTIN — A majority of Texans oppose GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's signature idea to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, even as immigration is most often cited by Texans as the biggest issue facing the state.

Those were among the top findings of a new survey released Wednesday by the Texas Lyceum, a nonpartisan group that annually polls Texans on a variety of key topics.

Immigration and border security are routinely listed as top of mind for Texans, outpacing traditional standbys like education, the economy and taxes. Those topics have also been stressed by state lawmakers, who last year approved $800 million over two years for border security.

But with immigration standing out in this year's White House race, the pollsters dug in a bit deeper.

Though 19 percent of Texans said immigration was the most important issue facing Texas — by far the leading vote-getter — 59 percent said they oppose a border wall. Parts of the southern border already have barriers, but Trump has proposed a much bigger, more expansive wall.

About 54 percent of Texans also said that immigration helps the country more than it hurts. And 51 percent of Texans said they would oppose another idea offered by Trump: a ban on immigration from countries with a history of terrorism.

There was a partisan split in all three cases, with Republicans being more receptive to the hard-line immigration policies than Democrats. And notably, likely voters in Texas largely split on the wisdom of building a border wall.

Those nuances perhaps reflect the more conservative bent of Texas politics, where GOP primary voters hold particular sway in electoral results.

“Overall, Texans seem to have a general feeling that immigration helps the U.S.,” said Joshua Blank, the Texas Lyceum's research director. “But again, it's driven by the state's Democratic populace.”

The survey, conducted Sept. 1-11, queried 1,000 adult Texans via live interviews over landlines and cellphones. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, meaning results can vary by that much in either direction.

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