When I moved to Texas in 1979 and started teaching at ACC, the characteristic of students that most differentiated them from my students in Illinois, where I had taught sociology and political science for ten years, was the pride that Texans demonstrated for their state. Southern Illinois, where I had taught previously, was noted for its regional pride, but the pride exhibited by Texans was clearly extraordinary.
Given my experience, the results from two questions in the February 2014 UT/Texas Tribune Poll startled me. The questions reverse the order of response choices to prevent a bias in the responses. Here are the questions:
Question 1: If you had to choose, would you say you consider yourself a Texan first and American second, or an American first and a Texan second?
Question 2: If you had to choose, would you say you consider yourself an American first and a Texan second, or a Texan first and an American second?
The responses to Question 1: Texan: 29 percent
American: 71 percent
The responses to Question 2: American: 74 percent
Texan: 26 percent
Perhaps, few respondents were native Texans, and the “foreigners” (there are some xenophobes in Texas) are infecting the results. But there’s a question in the poll to tap this possibility:
Did you move to Texas from some other state? Yes: 43 percent; No: 57 percent.
Of those who did move to Texas, the largest percentage (14 percent) moved from California. The states that border Texas (New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana) contributed 18 percent, with Louisiana providing the greatest percentage (8 percent).
Furthermore, 89 percent of the respondents were born in the United States or Puerto Rico.
I would have thought that a larger percentage of Texans would think of themselves as Texans first. Who’s sporting all those “secede” bumper stickers?