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Poll in CD10

A few days ago, Paul Burka reported being on the receiving end of a robocall poll for CD10, which he presumed came from the Mike McCaul campaign. He was wrong about that – the poll was commissioned by Ted Ankrum. I am now in possession of the results. Here is the full script, with totals for each question:

Q1. Are you a registered voter who intends to vote in the election?

(Note: Only “yes” answers continued with the call, for a total of 500 respondents and a margin of error of 4.4%.)

Q2. Michael McCaul is your current Representative in Congress. What are your thoughts on his reelection?

34.7% Would you definitely vote to reelect him
39.1% Would you consider other candidates
26.1% Would you definitely vote to replace him

Q3. The three Candidates for Congress are Michael McCaul, the Republican, Ted Ankrum, the Democrat, and Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian.

50.8% Would you vote for Michael McCaul, the Republican
41.6% Would you vote for Ted Ankrum, the Democrat
7.6% Would you vote for Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian

(Note: The order in which the candidates’ names was read was rotated for each call.)

Q4 In times such as these, should a Representative follow the lead of the President or follow the opinion of voters in their District? In a situation where the two do not agree:

23.2% The Representative should follow the President
76.8% The Representative should follow the voters

Q5. What is your opinion of President Bush’ job performance on a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 means you strongly approve and 4 means you strongly disapprove?

25.7% Strongly approve
22.8% Somewhat approve
9.4% Some disapproval
42.0% Strong disapproval

There was one more question asking for the respondent’s age. As you can see, it was a pretty straightforward, non-push poll, generic enough to make Burka think it came from McCaul’s camp. Approximately 36% of the respondents were from Harris County (which broke down as McCaul 67%, Ankrum 25%, Badnarik 8%), 47% from Travis (Ankrum 57%, McCaul 36%, Badnarik 7%) and the rest in between. That’s slightly tilted towards Travis, but may simply reflect greater voter enthusiasm this year.

I would not claim that 42% of the respondents in this poll even know who Ted Ankrum is, much less that they know enough about him to vote for him. This is basically an anti-Bush, anti-incumbent statement. The breakdown of the approve/disapprove question says it all: Over 91% of the voters who strongly or somewhat approved of George W. Bush preferred McCaul, while 78% of those who strongly or somewhat disapproved went for Ankrum (it was 88% of the strong disapprovers). This is the first real piece of evidence I’ve seen that Bush’s sagging poll numbers, even in Texas (most recent SurveyUSA result 47 approve/51 disapprove), will have an effect on races here in Texas. Combine it with the earlier Henley poll, and I think one can feel a little optimism for Democratic prospects overall. Hopefully we’ll see even more results like this.

The good news for Ankrum is that I believe he has room to grow. The key for any Democratic candidate to have a shot in this district is to boost turnout and performance in Travis County. If this is an accurate picture of voter intensity, then he’s got #1 going for him. If he can get his performance there up to about 65%, he’s up close to 45% overall. The flip side of that, of course, is that better turnout in Harris pushes him down. If you tweak things so that it’s 47% Harris and 36% Travis, and assume the same ratios for each county, McCaul goes up by a 53-39 score. I believe there’s a fair piece of SD07 in this district, and enthusiasm for Dan Patrick may well help bump up participation in Harris to McCaul’s advantage. That may also have been accounted for by question 1, I can’t say. In any event, turning out Travis County, and doing a little better there and among the weak Bush disapprovers is the key for Ankrum. We’ll see how it goes from here, but this is an encouraging beginning.

UPDATE: More from BOR, McBlogger, and R.G. Ratcliffe.

I should note that Ankrum emailed me to say that he agrees that this is an anti-Bush result. It also occurs to me that the poll apparently did not allow for questions to be skipped, or for “Don’t Know” to be selected. That could skew things in any number of ways, including the high-for-a-Libertarian-in-a-three-way-race 7.6% total for Badnarik. Just something to think about.

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5 Comments

  1. PDiddie says:

    As noted elsewhere, those are astounding negatives for McCaul in this district. If Ankrum goes after him and drives those up, he can win CD-10.

    I wouldn’t have put this in the ‘very winnable’ category until this poll. Great news for Ted.

  2. Amy Sater says:

    This is incredibly exciting! One question: regarding the effects of “enthusiasm for Dan Patrick” in SD07, as far as I can tell, Patrick has no credible challenger. Under those circumstances, what would drive republican turnout in the Harris part of TX-10, given that many of those voters are still irked with Perry over the outcome of the special session?

  3. Amy – To vote for Dan Patrick, of course. Like him or not, he’s a draw for voters. And while Patrick has been critical of Perry, he’s also been a good soldier and defended Perry against Kinky wannabees.

  4. John says:

    Sorry for the repetitive comment, but:

    Do let’s show Ted some blog love, give to his campaign today!

  5. I’m seeing the same thing on the ground. Voters feel betrayed by the Republican majority in Congress, it’s not simply anti-bush. Repubs have FAILED on every major proposal. All they have left is fear. Fear and failure aren’t a winning combination.

    For all you big money people out there, it’s time to go for the throat. Stop playing defensive in this election and push hard and strong. Trust the voters, they are leading you. Donate to your favorite CHALLENGER today.