June 20, 2008
SD10 polling

We've got a couple of polls in the SD10 race between Wendy Davis and Sen. Kim Brimer. From Politex:

In a poll conducted for Davis' campaign by Washington, D.C.-based Democratic pollsters Bennett, Petts & Normington, Brimer nabs 39 percent of voters compared to Davis' 35 percent if the election were held today. Results are based on 400 likely voters in the district. The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

Austin-based TXPollWatch.com then released the results of an automated poll which has Brimer leading 44.27 percent to Davis' 35.35 percent. The results are weighted based on a sample size of 466. The margin of error is 4.54 percent. (Texas Poll Watch is a brand new site and has caught some serious flak for another recent poll (Word doc).)

More on that TXPollWatch poll here and here. All I'll say at this point is that TXPollWatch hasn't established a sufficient level of credibility just yet.

Bryan Eppstein, spokesman for Brimer, said, "There are two Democratic polls and both polls show Brimer winning. What does that tell you? It shows Brimer's going to win the race this fall."

That's one way of looking at it. Another way is to say that a 20-year incumbent who can't crack 45% - heck, 40% in one poll - isn't doing so hot. The Davis poll, whose memo is reproduced below, was a straight up "Who will you vote for?" ask, with no embellishments, and he got all of 39%. You tell me if that sounds like he's in a strong position.

Here's the Davis poll memo:

Wendy Davis, candidate for State Senate District 10, released today the results of a poll conducted for her campaign that verified that her record of leadership has positioned her for success this November. The poll revealed evidence that the failed record of her opponent, Senator Kim Brimer, has left voters displeased with his lack of representation and exhibiting an overwhelming desire for change.

Confirming the results and showing a widening trend of an earlier poll conducted by the Lone Star Project (PDF), and turnout data from the March 4th, 2008 primary (below), the new data makes clear that Wendy Davis is extremely well-positioned to defeat Kim Brimer in November.

Among the May 2008 poll's most salient findings:

* When respondents were asked "If the general election were held today, for whom would you vote?" - without hearing any information, positive or negative, about the candidates - 20-year Republican incumbent Kim Brimer starts the race in a statistical dead heat with challenger Wendy Davis (39% to 35%).

* Only 41% of the electorate can identify Kim Brimer, a shockingly low number for an incumbent of 20 years. (The Lone Star Project poll had Brimer's recognition at just 49.7% when identifying him as State Senator Kim Brimer.)

* Only 25% of voters say that Brimer deserves to be reelected, while 42% believe it's time to elect someone new. (This corresponds to the Lone Star Project poll, which found that only 27.4% of voters surveyed wanted to see Brimer reelected.)

The poll was conducted by Bennett, Petts & Normington (BPN), a respected national polling firm, with a sample size of 400 likely voters in Texas's 10th State Senate District. The poll had a margin of error of 4.9%. BPN conducted polling for Paula Hightower Pierson in her successful bid against State Representative Toby Goodman in 2006 and for Dan Barrett's special election win in House District 97 last fall.

This poll also echoes the March primary results, when twice as many Democrats as Republicans turned out to vote. Looking specifically at this race, only 33,543 Republicans voted for Kim Brimer, while 62,574 Democrats voted for Wendy Davis. Both candidates were uncontested in their primaries.

It all sounds pretty good to me. If you haven't done so already, you can listen to my interview with Wendy Davis, done during the Democratic convention in Austin, here.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 20, 2008 to Election 2008