September 19, 2002
Chron poll shows Perry ahead

The top headline in today's Chron is for this story, which shows Governor Goodhair holding a nine-point lead in the polls over Tony Sanchez. The other statewide races are all seen as closer.

Before I go into the details, let me bitch about the fact that the nice pie-chart graphics which are on the front page of the print edition are nowhere to be found online. This is a common occurrance in the Chron. Why, oh why, is this the case? Is the Chron short on disk space or bandwidth or something? Sheesh.

Anyway, the numbers, based on "879 likely voters across Texas", are as follows:

For governor

Perry 46%
Sanchez 37%
Undecided 10%
Other/neither/no answer 7%

For US Senate

Cornyn 42%
Kirk 36%
Undecided 13%
Other/neither/no answer 9%

For Lt. Governor

Dewhurst 41%
Sharp 35%
Undecided 16%
Other/neither/no answer 7%

No chart was given for the Attorney General race. The article says there's a "statistical tie" between Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Kirk Watson.

I think there's a bit of a contradiction here:

Unless Perry stumbles, pollsters said, he has a good chance to retain the seat he ascended to as lieutenant governor after former Gov. George W. Bush was elected president.


Although Sanchez, a Mexican-American, would be the state's first Hispanic governor, polling indicates 44 percent of Hispanics have little interest in the governor's race. In comparison, 23 percent of whites have little interest and 37 percent of blacks have little interest.

Seems to me that Sanchez can make up a lot of ground by getting more Hispanics to be interested in the race. (Admittedly, if they're not interested by now it's hard for me to imagine how to change that.) This accompanying article explores the level of interest in the races in more depth.

I'm not sure how accurate these overall numbers are. I believe Perry has a lead, but I don't believe that Cornyn and Dewhurst are statistically ahead of Kirk and Sharp. Regardless, I've said before and I'll say again: These races will be decided by turnout.

As noted before, there's good news in the Lite Guv race numbers:

[Pollster Richard] Murray said the story in the lieutenant governor's race is that Dewhurst doesn't have a bigger lead after outspending Sharp about $11 million to $1.2 million.

Sharp spokesman Kelly Fero described Dewhurst's standing in the poll as "pitiful" in view of his heavy spending relative to Sharp.

In recent weeks, Dewhurst has flooded markets with a commercial showing a sneering Sharp and attacking him as a liberal.

As Sharp starts to roll out his commercials, the gap should close, Murray said.

I can't wait to see the much-ballyhooed Nolan Ryan endorsement ad. I believe that will definitely have an effect.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 19, 2002 to Election 2002

I wonder if Tony Sanchez isn't making the same mistake that Orlando Sanchez made locally -- that is, he seems to be investing a ton of money in media buys, with little thought to local organization. In our mayoral race, Lee Brown very effectively deployed a massive fleet of rented vans that got his vote out on runoff day. Orlando Sanchez certainly got a boost from Hispanic turnout, but had he deployed the same strategy as Brown (instead of a last minute mail campaign), might he have squeezed enough additional votes to matter?


Like you, I'm struck by that 44% figure. If Tony Sanchez can figure out how to get those people to the polls (even if he has to send vans for them!), he's much more formidable.

Posted by: Kevin Whited on September 19, 2002 8:26 AM

Good question. I can tell you that I got a call from the local Tony Sanchez campaign headquarters the other day asking me if I'd like to volunteer. Perhaps they're looking for people to help with turnout. Or maybe they're just calling anyone who voted in the Democratic primary.

(I declined the opportunity to volunteer, but maybe I ought to reconsider...)

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on September 19, 2002 10:09 AM