But a new poll from the Texas Tribune shows that while Californians are coming to Texas in droves, it’s mostly conservatives who are emigrating to the Lone Star State.
“Gov. Rick Perry’s very public, but mostly humorous, skirmish with California Gov. Jerry Brown started with the Texan’s overtures to California entrepreneurs sick of living in a sunshine state where it is apparently ‘next to impossible’ to build a business,” the Tribune reports. “While it’s tempting to assume that Californians relocating to Texas are moving to the state’s big metropolises and bringing their liberal, ‘California’ attitudes (I’m sure many of you think that I’m being redundant), data collected in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune polls tell a different story.”
California is losing residents every day, with tens of thousands of them moving to Texas, with its low taxes and business-friendly environment.
“These newcomers, on average, tend to be conservative,” the Tribune says. “Pooling data from the May 2012 and February 2013 UT/Tribune surveys, we found that 57 percent of these California transplants consider themselves to be conservative, while only 27 percent consider themselves to be liberal.”
Most move to the suburbs, with only about a quarter of them moving to the cities.
“So while some may want to perceive the wave of Californians coming to Texas as part of the broader demographic trends that might eventually turn Texas purple, and then blue, the data collected to date suggest that Perry’s pitch appears to be hitting a chord with Californians who wear cowboy boots instead of Birkenstocks,” the Tribune concludes.
Democrats know they have to make a strong case for their beliefs, and they have to work harder at winning Texans over. That’s something Democratic leaders such as San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro are beginning to realize.
“It’s going to take putting the foundation of political participation in place,” he said in a recent interview with National Journal. “People have to be activated. There have been too many people who might lean Democratic in Texas who are just not participating in the democracy. This is a particularly acute problem among Hispanics. So we need to put together a party organization that is strong, put together a grassroots organization that will get people interested in voting, register voters on a consistent, robust scale, and put forth candidates who are appealing.”
The Texas GOP is “spoiled,” he says, having won every statewide election since 1998. But that “leaves a great opportunity for Democrats,” he adds.
“It’s going to take a while, but it’s going to happen,” Castro says. “You combine that with demography, and that’s a recipe for turning the state blue.”
For now, that’s wishful thinking.
But Texas leaders must guard against losing sight of what has drawn Californians and has kept Texas solidly Republican — the opportunity to succeed.