October 08, 2008
The Obama effect in Park Cities

Kos brings word of a fascinating poll in one of the wealthier areas of Dallas.

Texas Rep. Dan Branch commissioned a Baselice & Associates poll of his district the week after the Republican convention, and what he found was surprising. While McCain was enjoying a national "Palin bounce," District 108 wasn't feeling the love. Branch's poll found that 47 percent of voters planned to pull the lever for Obama, only 45 percent for McCain.

To appreciate the significance of those numbers, have a look at the boundaries of District 108. From the north, it includes Highland Park and University Park, site of the future Bush library, in case you'd forgotten. To the south, it includes most of downtown Dallas. In other words, there's a reason Branch is a Republican. That same poll found Branch leading Democratic challenger Emil Reichstadt 58 to 24 percent. In the Senate race, Republican John Cornyn was leading Democratic challenger Rick Noriega 49 to 40 percent.

I'd have to do some research to prove it, but I'd just about bet a week's salary that George Bush carried HD108 with at least 60% of the vote in 2004. Having said that, this result shouldn't be that shocking, since HD108 is being subject to the same trends as the rest of Dallas County, and it really wasn't all that red (PDF) in 2006. Bill Moody got 47.9% of the vote there, and nearly every other statewide Republican did a point or so worse there than they did overall. (Elizabeth Ames Jones and Rick Perry were the exceptions, though Chris Bell also did better in HD108 than he did statewide.) It's not that great a stretch from there to imagine Obama carrying the district.

Note too that this poll was taken a week after the Republican convention, when Palinmania was still pretty strong, and McCain was still leading in the national tracking polls. I'd love to know what a result from this week might look like. For that matter, I'd love to see another Baselice poll of Texas - he hasn't had one since May - or any other respectable poll for that matter, if for no other reason than to see if it agrees with the recent Rasmussen results.

Two other things to consider. One is that in 2004, quite a few Democrats in the State House and elsewhere got elected in districts where Bush won a majority of the vote. I can't think of any Republicans, in the State House, State Senate, or US House, who got elected in a district that John Kerry carried. This year, that may not be the case, as we see from Branch's situation. How well will some of these guys do if the tide is no longer flowing in their direction? Also, this is another illustration of the point I raised concerning some recent Congressional polls. We're not living in 2004 any more. Solid red areas may not be, and some of them will surprise us. Be ready for it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 08, 2008 to Election 2008

2004 results:

George Bush - 58.1%
John Kerry - 41.9%

RR Commish
Victor Carillo - 62.0%
Bob Scarborough - 38.0%

Supreme Court
Scott Brister - 60.1%
David Van Os - 39.9%

Crt. Criminal Appeals
Michael Keasler - 60.2%
J.R. Molina - 39.8%

State Rep
Dan Branch - 62.5% Malcolm Dade - 37.5%

I will now (just about) stake my claim to that week's pay.

Posted by: Greg Wythe on October 8, 2008 11:58 AM

I stand corrected. And that has to be one of very few districts in which Bush lagged the other Republicans on the ticket.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on October 8, 2008 2:12 PM

My sense is that Dallas is really interested in protecting 106 & 107 and picking up 101 & 102. Branch is pretty popular, so his district will probably flip before he loses.

Posted by: blank on October 8, 2008 8:00 PM
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