Texans support an illegal immigration law

A new poll by a nonpartisan group found that 55 percent of Texans would support a state measure similar to the one in Arizona to crack down on illegal immigration.

The Texas Lyceum poll released Tuesday determined that 21 percent of the more than 700 adults questioned in the telephone survey believe immigration is the most important problem facing the Lone Star state. Most would support measures like Arizona's, which lets law officers ask about immigration status. This is a change from the poll conducted in July 2009, which found the economy and unemployment to be the most important issues facing the state, in that survey only six percent cited immigration as a major issue.

The poll also covered other legislative issues. It found that most Texans favor legalizing full-blown casino gambling or expanding gambling in existing locations, like race tracks. The poll shows that most Texans would rather collect new taxes from legalized gambling and alcoholic beverages, rather than increase or broaden sales taxes or impose an income tax. Voters also say their third choice out of a list of eight options is to legalize and tax marijuana sales.

These are just some of the interesting findings from the poll that was conducted September 22-30. Approximately 5,000 records were drawn for the randomized telephone survey, yielding 725 completed interviews.

Texans also believe that some programs should be exempt from budget cuts. When it comes to maintaining or increasing education funding 53% of those surveyed support directing additional funding for a combination of aid to public schools, local school districts, and community colleges, as well as universities. Health care for children, the elderly, and mentally ill was considered to be a priority by 30% of those polled.

The 2010 Texas Lyceum Poll Executive Summary of State Attitudes

The Associated Press Contributed to this story.