During the Texas crisis, Senator Ted Cruz, was criticized for leaving the state and heading with his family to Mexico. His highly publicized action — and his return to Texas the day after he left — raised questions for some about the role of congressional Representatives when it comes to dealing with a natural disaster in their home state.
Politicians may not have a direct government role in those circumstances, but should they do anything?
Most adults in the latest Economist/YouGov poll believe they should be responsible for coordinating relief efforts on-the-ground (63%), raising funds to aid relief efforts (58%), and providing moral support and hope to their constituents (58%). Only 8% of Americans say Senators and Representatives have no role at all during a natural disaster in their state.
Opinion of Cruz slipped in the days following the crisis. The drop was sharpest among his fellow Republicans, an 8-point drop in favorability (68% to 60%), coupled with a 10-point jump in unfavorable ratings (15% to 25%).
Democratic opinion of Cruz was extremely negative last week (73% unfavorable), accelerated perhaps by Cruz’s leading role in the GOP attempt to reject the Electoral College vote. But Democratic sentiment is even more negative this week (79%).
Last week, Southerners were relatively closely divided when it came to their opinion of Cruz. This week, his home region is clearly negative. While Southern Republicans remain positive today about Cruz (62% to 19%), last week, those figures were 72% favorable, and only 9% unfavorable.
Just over half the public had heard “a lot” about Cruz’s abortive trip. But the most attentive were those who were already negative towards the Senator. Seven in 10 Democrats (69%), but just half of Republicans (49%) claim to have heard a lot about the story. One in five Republicans say they heard “nothing at all.”
Related: Last week’s winter storms remind Americans they might not be prepared for the next one
See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov poll
Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between February 19 - 22, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 2.7% for the overall sample