AUSTIN— Health care and the economy are now the most important issues for Texans, according to a recent survey conducted by WPA Intelligence for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Immigration is now third among likely voters in the Lone Star State, followed by education and property taxes. Concern over health care and the economy have surged as Texas deals with both the public health challenge of fighting, containing, and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and the economic fallout of shutting down businesses, losing jobs, and cutting wages.

Nearly a quarter of Texas voters (23 percent) say health care is the most important issue, with the economy at 19 percent and immigration dropping to 12 percent. Nine in ten voters (91 percent) say they are concerned about COVID-19 having a serious impact on their lives.

Texans’ views of how the state is handling the crisis remain good. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) say they are satisfied with the steps the state has taken to deal with the outbreak, with only 23 percent saying they are not satisfied. The vast majority of Texans (85 percent) are optimistic the state will fully recover by the end of the year with only 14 percent pessimistic it will take longer or not recover.

“Without question, COVID-19 has had a significant and immediate impact on people’s lives and we’re seeing that in the data,” said TPPF’s Chief Communications Officer Brian Philips. “The challenge is for our public officials to weigh both the serious health concerns with the very real economic damage that is occurring around the state. We should be closely evaluating activity based on what is safe or unsafe, rather than implementing blanket shutdowns that will have long-lasting consequences for Texans.”

As Texans cope with life in quarantine, 82 percent say they support the increased use of virtual classrooms as a mechanism to provide more student access to educational resources. Property taxes still remain a significant burden for Texans with 78 percent saying so. A majority would be open to using an alternative source to fund schools rather than using property taxes as long as funding and tax levels didn’t change.

The survey was taken March 29-31 from 800 likely voters in Texas and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.