You've probably heard about the new Zogby Interactive/Wall Street Journal poll numbers for Texas, but if you haven't, here they are:
What to make of all this? Well, bear in mind that these were done before the first round of TV ads hit the airwaves. We'll have a better idea of who's where after they've been broadcast for awhile. That said, it's hard to imagine too many people being all that flexible about Rick Perry at this point in time. He's been Governor for six years, he's had a Republican legislature for his entire second term, and just about any issue he wants to raise, such as appraisal creep, is one that he's either tried and failed to address or (like immigration) he's not paid any attention to before now. I believe he can shore up his base by convincing them that they have no place else to go, but I don't think that gets him past forty percent. To be sure, that will be enough to win, but it sure won't be much to brag about. It won't be much to govern with, either, especially with the number of Republican Governor wannabees (KBH, Dewhurst, Combs, Staples, etc etc etc) that will spend the next four years making like Strayhorn in preparation for 2010. Obviously, anyone who beats Perry with a lesser total than 40% will have the same guberatorial warm-up act to contend with, but at least they can dismiss it as partisan griping. Perry won't have that luxury.
Paul Burka is hearing suggestions that Perry's free fall may be real.
That said, I have been hearing from Republican sources for the last week or so that GOP numbers in Texas are "falling through the floor"--their words, not mine. The huge edge in party identification Republicans once enjoyed has all but disappeared, and there is concern that some down-ballot candidates--Elizabeth Ames Jones for Railroad Commissioner and Todd Staples for Agriculture Commissioner, for example--could find themselves in very close races. Ds and Rs alike are saying that Ds could pick up four to six seats in the state House of Representatives, which would be a monumental shift.
The remaining mystery is the Bell/Strayhorn discrepancy. It's hard to say without seeing full crosstabs, but in cases like this the first suspect is always the poll sample. Strayhorn's been hitting the Trans Texas Corridor circuit pretty hard, so she's probably doing better among rural voters. That could account for the difference right there. It also suggests that Strayhorn is making gains at Perry's expense, so Bell will have to go after Friedman to build his numbers. Maybe Friedman's recent ugliness (which has prompted Marc Campos to dub him The Kinkhole) will remind some of his urban-hipster supporters that he doesn't share their values, which would redound to Bell's benefit.
I should also note that both of these results conflict with a recent poll commissioned by Texans for Insurance Reform that had Perry at 41% and Undecided coming in second, at 20% (Strayhorn had 14, then Bell and Friedman at 13 apiece). That's easily Perry's best showing since March, and I'll say again that there ain't no way Bell finishes that low, so until further notice I say this poll is the outlier, not Zogby or Rasmussen.
Finally, as for the Senate result, Rasmussen has it as 58/32 in favor of Hutchison. I'd dearly love for Zogby to be the more accurate picture here, but it's hard for me to understand what (outside of a general anti-incumbent/anti-Republican feeling) would account for such a steep decline on KBH's part. She's not really in the news much, her favorables remain good, and there aren't a bunch of ads attacking her on the air now. At least Rasmussen doesn't have Hutchison in the 60s any more, which to my mind was always an overstatement of her strength. That's a positive development, though obviously not as positive as Zogby. I'd like to see some more results here.
MyDD has more on the Zogbys. Note that not all of the poll results are good for Dems.Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 11, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack