Poll shows majority of registered voters support water infrastructure funding

Cinnamon Cornell

A majority of registered voters support a proposed constitutional amendment to use money from the Rainy Day Fund for water infrastructure and water projects throughout the state.

Proposition 6, which will go before voters Nov. 5, would establish the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas. This move would help finance projects in the state’s water plan.

“The most pressing policy for the state of Texas is over the issue of funding for water projects,” said James Henson, government professor and director of the Texas Politics Project.

Henson and his colleagues took a statewide poll to see if citizens favored funding water projects. The poll explained if water was important to citizens and how likely it was for citizens to vote in an election for funding water infrastructure. Henson said the data supports that Texas voters typically like to have a direct say on big decisions such as this, rather than leaving it up to the Texas Legislature.

Daron Shaw, the co-director of the poll and a government professor, said an overall 44 percent of voters were in favor of funding water projects.

According to the poll of 800 registered voters, 52 percent were in favor of funding for water projects, 19 percent opposed and 24 percent had no opinion, while the remaining did not intend to vote. Shaw said out of the 800 total, 611 were considered likely voters.

Shaw explained the issue of funding projects for water infrastructure is the question of the possibility of raising taxes or raising revenue. According to Shaw, this is not a generic question because of the importance of water in the state and dealing with a longstanding drought.

“Politics are dynamic and all polls, in a sense, are predictions,” Shaw said. “Not all registered voters show up on Election Day, but according to our polls, people are in favor of funding water projects.”

College of Liberal Arts spokesman David Ochsner said the polls taken by Henson and his colleagues were important because they showed people cared about funding water projects and that elections give people the opportunity to let their voice be heard.

“The polls reveal the importance of water to the voters — voters want to have a say and now they can,” Ochsner said.

Correction: Because of a reporting error, several quotations from James Henson, government professor and director of the Texas Politics Project, were incorrect. Henson said the most pressing policy issue for Texas is "over the funding for water projects" not the issue of "over-funding water projects."