By Ross Ramsey
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn leads Democratic challenger MJ Hegar by 8 percentage points in his reelection bid, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
The poll found 50% of likely voters in Texas prefer the Republican incumbent, while 42% favor Hegar. Kerry Douglas McKennon, a Libertarian, attracted the support of 3%.
In the state's presidential race, where President Donald Trump is leading former Vice President Joe Biden 50%-45%, there is a marked gender gap: Men favor Trump by 16 percentage points, while women favor Biden by 5 percentage points. Taken together, that amounts to a 21-point difference in support. In the Senate race, however, the gap barely exists: Men favor Cornyn by 8 percentage points, and women favor Cornyn by 4 percentage points.
And in a generic race for Congress — voters were asked whether they'd favor an unnamed Republican or an unnamed Democrat in a race for their own congressional district — Republicans had a 7-percentage-point advantage.
"It's not like Cornyn is blowing out Hegar, but the Cornyn race and then the generic battle for Congress really look more like party [affiliation] is reasserting itself," said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. He called the presidential race a referendum on the president, with different results than might be expected for a typical contest based on party.
Hegar, who hasn't held public office, isn't as well known as Cornyn, who was first elected to statewide office in 1990 and was elected to the Senate in 2002. More Texas voters viewed her positively than negatively — 33% said they have a favorable opinion of her, while 24% had an unfavorable one — and 43% registered no opinion at all.
Cornyn was rated positively by 38% of voters, and negatively by the same percentage. What's more, 24% of Texas voters, even after the years of seeing his name on the ballot, don't report having any real impression of him.
Voters aren't as well acquainted with Hegar as with her opponent, said James Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin.
"Her fate, even more than others, is going to be pretty tied to the presidential race. She's right there under the race," he said. "She does have 50% of independents, but 88% of Trump voters are with Cornyn, and 82% of Biden voters are with Hegar."
Compare Cornyn's job approval ratings with Ted Cruz, the state's junior U.S. senator and a former presidential candidate. Only 12% of Texas voters said either that they have a neutral or no opinion about Cruz, while 46% reported a favorable opinion and 42% said they had an unfavorable opinion.
Texans gave both senators higher marks than the institution where they serve. A majority — 60% — have a negative opinion of Congress, while only 20% said they approve of the job Congress is doing.
The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from Sept. 25 to Oct. 4 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points. The margin of error for results from 908 likely voters is +/- 3.25 percentage points. Numbers in charts might not add up to 100% because of rounding.
More on the election:
Lately, the crypto market is looking shaky.
The price of bitcoin fell by more than half from its high, the digital currency luna crashed to $0 and a type of so-called stablecoin TerraUSD has been described as dead.
Reporting from the LA Times notes that experts seeing a correlation between traditional markets and the cryptocurrency market is high right now, with plunges in one being followed by a plunge in the other. On Wednesday, stocks had their worst day in more than two years with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1,164 points.
Crypto’s volatility has long been questioned, especially after SXSW this year was filled with Web3 enthusiasts and displays.
With 8% of Texans owning Bitcoin and many others involved in the local crypto and Web3 scene, what are they feeling amid the crash?
In a written comment to Austonia, ATX DAO said a positive with the downturn is that “most of the speculative moneygrab type projects get washed out of the market, and the quality projects that deliver real value remain and gather more attention.”
The group went on to say it could work to their advantage as they carry out their latest project: a mural at Native Hostel that will have an NFT version. They’ll use sales toward donations to HOPE Outdoor Gallery, a local nonprofit that supports artists and creatives.
Meanwhile, Yagub Rahimov, a founder of an Austin-based Web3 company explains that they aren’t really impacted by the crash.
Since the company known as Tested Web functions as a Web3 online reputation marketplace, it is utilizing blockchain technology without tokenizing.
“We are a share to earn marketplace. That means that any activity that users have on tested web.com, we will be rewarding,” Rahimov said. “Those rewards are coming in the form of rewards points. And every quarter they can opt in to receive either a gift card or a check. We are not issuing any cryptocurrency. That's one of the important elements that I believe we got it right that way.”
With recent developments at Tested Web, Rahimov says he “couldn’t be happier.” After struggling to find tech talent in early spring, he’s had a hiring spree in the last 10 days and received a $1 million grant and partnership with Silent Notary, a blockchain-powered validation provider.
But his recent business success aside, Rahimov is noticing what’s happening in the markets and predicts that the correlation between the crypto market and traditional one will be broken.
“The way Bitcoin was introduced back in 2009, it was as a reply or response to the 2008 market crash,” Rahimov said. “And it really feels like we are in 2007, 2008, actually, early, early days of the market crash. And if it becomes that way, very likely that the winner is going to be those of decentralized parties.”
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Barton Springs Pool is on a condensed schedule while the city tries to fill out its lifeguard roster.
The popular pool is currently closed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays while it navigates a lifeguard shortage. The city is offering bonuses to new applicants who can start by early June.
Austin Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Jodi Jay said there are 207 lifeguards ready to work and 100 incoming but the department needs 750 to be fully staffed.
Zoom out: The pandemic has had a lasting impact on hiring—in 2019, the city was able to hire 850 lifeguards. The Aquatic Department has been unable to match those numbers since it reopened training classes in spring of 2021.
Why it matters: The city needs at least 400 lifeguards, plus 30 with open water certification, to open pools on a modified schedule by June 4. Without hitting that mark, some facilities could limit hours or close.
The job pays between $16-19 an hour, anyone over 15 can get certified and there are bonuses on the table:
- $500 bonus if you get certified and start working by June 6.
- $500 bonus if you work through August 14.
- $250 bonus if you get advanced certification.