Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0

While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been very proud of how his state's new vigilante anti-abortion law is preventing abortions (or at least making them happen in other states), the "pro-life" governor probably won't be touting this particular statistic: As of September 3, there have been 59 deaths of children from COVID-19 in Texas. As Houston Public Media reports, that makes Texas a "leader in child deaths" from the virus.

In addition to the kids who have died, in the first two weeks of schools reopening, Texas has racked up more than 50,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases among schoolchildren, and more than a dozen schools have had to close temporarily because of outbreaks. Among the closures were the schools in the Connelly Independent School District, near Waco, where two teachers died of COVID within a week of each other.

Thank goodness the state's political leaders have been busy, with the abortion ban going into effect, as well as the Texas Legislature wrapping up its special session by passing that nifty voter suppression bill Republicans wanted so badly.

In the middle of all that, new polling from the Texas Politics Project shows Abbott's approval rating underwater, with 41 percent of respondents saying they approve of the job he's doing, and 50 percent saying they disapprove. Another nine percent either didn't know or neither approved or disapproved.


Also worth noting: The 41 percent of respondents who "disapprove strongly" far outweighed the 19 percent who "approve strongly" of how Abbott's been doing. 22 percent "approve somewhat," which we'll assume translates to "Meh, he's a Republican so I guess I have to say I approve, right?" Only nine percent "disapprove somewhat," suggesting that it's difficult to be lukewarm about disliking Abbott.

The sole bright spot for Abbott is that among self-identified GOP supporters, the more rabid the Republican, the more they support Abbott, with 79 percent of Republicans approving him overall, and 46 percent of those who said they were "strong Republicans" saying they strongly approve of Abbott. Those who merely "lean" or were "not very strong" Republicans were far more likely to just approve "somewhat."


So golly, good time for Texas Republicans to pass a law aimed at reducing voting by Democrats, who disapprove strongly of Abbott by large margins regardless of how strongly they identify with the party. Just look at that!


When it specifically comes to Abbott's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the poll had even more bad news for Abbott, with 53 percent of respondents saying they disapproved of his handling (with a lopsided "strongly disapprove," at 43 percent). Only 39 percent of Texans polled said they approved of how Abbott was handling the pandemic. And once more, the partisan split was deep, with heavy Republican approval and even stronger Democratic disapproval.

The pandemic continues to get worse in Texas, with the state running low on intensive care beds even as Abbott keeps railing about the need for people to be free of vaccine or mask mandates. As of Friday, Houston Public Media reports there were only 81 pediatric intensive care beds available in the state as pediatric hospitalizations continue to rise, and only "a couple hundred more regular ICU beds" available statewide.

Doctors, for some reason, don't seem to appreciate all the freedom that Abbott is insisting on:

"Governor Abbott has failed us. A republican state legislature has failed us," said Dr. David Portugal a cardiologist in Sugarland, Texas. "These leaders should be held accountable and be asked to explain how they can justify taking actions that are killing their fellow Texans."

And while Abbott's handling of the pandemic isn't popular at all with Texans overall, his approval among Republicans, however middling, doesn't suggest he'll be any more open to keeping kids particularly "healthy" or "alive," since going into the 2022 elections he already has two GOP primary challengers who are running far to his right. Damned if he's going to risk being renominated just because parents think their kids have a right to not be infected at school.

[KVUE-TV / Houston Public Media / Texas Politics Project poll / Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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