(The Center Square) – More Texans approve than disapprove of Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star, a new poll shows. It also shows that more Texans support the placement of marine barriers than media outlets have suggested, with nearly half polled saying they support Abbott installing the buoys in the Rio Grande River to prevent illegal entry.
The poll was conducted by a British firm, Redfield & Wilton Strategies, for Newsweek. A pool of 687 eligible voters were surveyed between August 8 and 9. Newsweek doesn’t state what the margin of error is or how the poll was conducted.
A total of 49% of respondents said they strongly supported (26%) or supported (23%) Abbott installing the marine barriers. Roughly 15% said they neither opposed nor supported installing them.
About the same number of people who support the idea also oppose it: 28% strongly oppose installing the buoys; 21% oppose it; 7% said they were unsure.
In response to Newsweek’s poll and headline, “Greg Abbott backed by Texans on floating barriers despite outcry,” Abbott said, “Well, of course! Only 28% disagree. They probably support Biden’s Open Border policies.”
The poll also found that among those surveyed, nearly 20% weren’t fully aware of the marine installation and didn’t understand what its purpose is; 81% surveyed said they were somewhat familiar.
When it comes to Abbott’s handling of border security, 42% said they approved compared to 37% who said they didn’t. Approval included 25% strongly approving and 17% approving. Disapproval included 11% who strongly disapproved and 26% who disapproved.
Nearly half surveyed expressed support for Abbott’s overall job performance since he was elected in 2014. Overall, 25% strongly approve and 20% approve compared to 26% who strongly disapprove and 11% who disapprove. Total approval/disapproval is 45% to 37% with another 14% saying they neither approve or disapprove.
Abbott’s approval rating is a change from a similar poll conducted last year, when he received 41% approval and 42% disapproval.
His increased approval rating also comes after two lawsuits were filed over installing the marine barriers and after misinformation continues about them. Some news outlets reported that people died because of the buoys; some on social media that they have razors, saws, and LSD laced on them.
In a separate poll of 2,500 American voters, The Center Square Voters’ Voice poll showed 82% of those surveyed are concerned with the situation at the border, with 47% saying they are very concerned and an additional 35% saying they are somewhat concerned. Just 13% said they are not concerned at all and 4% are unsure.
The Center Square interviewed Texas Border Czar Mike Banks, who explained how the buoys work and refuted “myths” being perpetrated about them.
“One of the things you hear a lot is that two migrants have died trying to cross the buoys. Absolutely false,” Banks said. “Not a single migrant has attempted to cross these buoys since they’ve been placed in the river.”
Both the Texas National Guard and Department of Public Safety troopers provide overwatch, he added, saying that illegal foreign nationals “go around them. They do not want to cross them.”
Banks said two people died near the buoys; one down river and one up river. The body of the one who drowned up river floated down the river and pushed up against the buoys.
“Any myth about these buoys being involved in a death is absolutely false,” he said.
“People trying to turn this into some type of death device need to look at the policies” of the Biden administration, he said, “which is encouraging people to put their lives at risk crossing the river.”