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History of Reform Efforts: Texas

Opinion Polls and Surveys

Texas Poll (1997)
52% of respondents supported judicial elections, while only 14% supported an appointive system. Of those who favored electing judges, 62% preferred nonpartisan elections. 55% agreed that judges who are elected are more vulnerable to political pressure than are appointed judges. 72% believed judges' decisions in some cases were influenced by political pressure from campaign contributions.

Texas Supreme Court (1998)
83% of Texas citizens, 69% of court personnel, and 79% of Texas attorneys believed that campaign contributions influenced judicial decisions "very significantly" or "fairly significantly." In addition, 48% of judges indicated that they believed money had an impact on judicial decisions.

Texas Supreme Court/State Bar/OCA (1999)
42% of attorneys, 52% of judges, and 54% of court personnel preferred nonpartisan election of judges. Only 11% of attorneys, 21% of judges, and 26% of court personnel supported partisan elections as a means of selecting judges. 48% of judges, 69% of court personnel, and 79% of attorneys believed that campaign contributions had a "fairly" or "very" significant influence on judicial decisions.

Justice at Stake Campaign (2001)
50% of Texas judges reported being dissatisfied with the tone and conduct of judicial campaigns, and 28% believed that judicial campaign contributions had at least some influence on their decisions.

Campaigns for People (2002)
59% of Texas voters disagreed with the statement that "judges should be appointed, rather than elected, by the governor and legislature," with 45% strongly disagreeing. 83% of voters supported nonpartisan elections. 77% of voters believed campaign contributions to judges had a "great deal" or a "fair amount" of influence on their decisions. 73% favored a public financing proposal for judicial elections. 55% reported having little or no information regarding judicial candidates in the last election, and 86% supported voter guides for judicial elections.