October 24, 2008
One last Texas poll

I may not get my wish for a poll of Harris County before Election Day, but we have at least gotten one last set of Texas results from Rasmussen. It's a somewhat mixed bag. First, the Presidential matchup:

John McCain is moving ahead in Texas, where he now tops Barack Obama by 10 points, 54% to 44%, in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state.

For the four previous months, McCain has led by nine. His new 54% showing is also his highest ever since polling on the race in Texas began in the spring. Forty-four percent (44%) is also Obama's best showing to date.

Now just one percent (1%) of Texas voters say they are undecided.

Sounds like all of the partisans have come home. And as we've discussed many times, that level of support for Obama is thought to be good news for the downballot Democrats. So far, so good.

The Senate poll is less encouraging.

Republican Senator from Texas John Cornyn has opened a fifteen point lead over challenger Rick Noriega in his bid for re-election. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state finds the incumbent leading 55% to 40%.

The latest poll is good news for Cornyn, who watched his lead slip to seven in September after leading by double digits in all previous polls since May. The senator is seeking his second term.

Cornyn now has a 54% to 32% lead among unaffiliated voters in Texas.

That stands in contrast to the recent R2K poll, as well as the September Rasmussen poll. I don't have access to Rasmussen's crosstabs, so I can't say what's different between these two results. It may be that this is a case of partisans coming home as with the Presidential race, with a few more undecideds that I'd guess are likely to break for Noriega. I find this result a little odd, mostly because I believe Noriega will ultimately run a point or two ahead of Obama. I certainly could be wrong about that, and if the undecideds here are really Democratic leaners, so that the "actual" result is something like 55-43, I can see that. Mark it down and we'll see how Rasmussen fares soon enough.

Another point to consider, going back to the Presidential numbers:

McCain is supported by 91% of Texas Republicans and four percent (4%) of Democrats. Ninety-four percent (94%) of the state's Democrats and nine percent (9%) of GOP voters back Obama. McCain leads by 14 points among unaffiliated voters.

The Republican leads among male voters by 19 points and among women by four. Hispanics favor Obama to McCain 54% to 42%.

That result among Hispanic voters is significantly better for McCain than national polling has shown and continues to show.

Recent Gallup polls show Mr. McCain running far behind Senator Barack Obama among Hispanic voters nationwide, only 26 percent of whom favor the Republican. The possibility that Mr. McCain can duplicate George W. Bush's performance among Latinos in 2004, when Republicans won 44 percent of the vote, now seems remote.

I don't think McCain will do any better among Texas Hispanics than he will elsewhere, and I also don't think Rick Noriega will do worse among them than Barack Obama will.

One last thing: While I'd guess this poll was conducted prior to the start of early voting, you have to wonder if the so-far significant Democratic tilt of the early vote would have changed Rasmussen's likely voter screen. With Democrats leading the way in early voting across the country, maybe we'll see some last minute updates to various polls.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 24, 2008 to Election 2008

It is all about the money. Cornyn has been running many commercials on tv and wisely not mentioning his oppponent. I have not seen one commercial for noriega. McCain is doing well here because of little attention to the state by obama. Still I think the final results are going to be closer than these poll results. Prediction time. McCain and Cornyn win the state by no more than 54-46%. Harris County will have a significant number (if not all) of democratic winners, the democrats will have the majority in the state house and possibly one or two state offices will be democratic.

Posted by: cb on October 24, 2008 12:03 PM
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