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New Poll Finds Lamar Smith Vulnerable on Pro-Exxon Bullying

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A new poll in Texas’ 21st Congressional District for Climate Hawks Vote demonstrates House Science Chair Lamar Smith’s weakest point. It’s not his support for Donald Trump – it’s his support for Exxon. A full 45 percent of voters find that his work on behalf of Exxon going after climate scientists makes it less likely that they will vote for him, while only 30% say that his pro-Exxon work makes it more likely that they’ll vote for him.

In comparison, poll respondents are equally divided on Smith’s embrace of Donald Trump – 41% each say that his support for Trump makes them more, and less, likely to support Smith.

Furthermore, while Smith’s support for Trump greatly increases the strength of his support from Republicans — 66% saying they are more likely to support Smith versus 13% saying they are less likely — Republicans are more mixed on Exxon — 45% saying they are more likely to support Smith versus 19% saying they are less likely.

The unpopularity of Trump and Exxon are similar for the Democratic and independent voters of the district.

The poll also finds that Smith’s Democratic challenger, Tom Wakely, has tremendous room to grow, with 71% of respondents saying that they do not have an opinion of him.

Climate Hawks Vote cofounder RL Miller states: “Our poll clearly shows that constituents disapprove of Lamar Smith’s weaponizing of the House Science Committee as a vehicle to harass state attorneys general in defense of Exxon. Voters also need to hear about Tom Wakely’s powerful life story as a military veteran, union organizer, religious activist, and hospice worker.”

Once-reliably-ruby-red Texas is now considered a battleground state in the presidential vote, with Donald Trump clinging to a narrow lead over Hillary Clinton in recent polls. Early voting in Texas began Monday, October 24, and urban counties are reporting record-breaking turnout. The San Antonio Express chose not to endorse Smith because his bully tactics on the climate change issue have crossed a line.

Text of Trump statement:

“Lamar Smith endorsed Donald Trump in May 2016, has stood by his endorsement, and has donated money to Trump’s campaign.”

Text of Exxon statement:

“Newly-released documents show ExxonMobil ignored its own scientists and instead fueled climate science denial for decades, funding politicians like Lamar Smith. As chair of the science committee, Smith has refused to investigate Exxon, instead going after climate scientists.”

Climate Hawks Vote has endorsed Tom Wakely. The poll, done by PPP Polling, surveyed 871 voters in Texas’ 21st Congressional District.

Paid for in part by Climate Hawks Vote Political Action. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

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