Annise Parker leads her closest opponent by a 2-to-1 advantage in an initial vote preference for mayor. Parker holds a solid lead in the election for Houston mayor (28% Parker – 14% Locke – 13% Brown – 5% Morales — <1% Huntley – 40% undecided), though the plurality of voters are still undecided. After hearing completely positive introductions of each candidate, Annise Parker maintains her significant double–digit lead over the rest of the field. In an informed vote preference where positive bios of each candidate were read, Parker is still in control of the race (33% Parker – 19% Locke – 18% Brown – 5% Morales – 12% Huntley – 13% undecided).
You may be wondering, as I was, why they bothered to include TJ Huntley in this poll, given that he dropped out of the race (and endorsed Morales) back in August. The answer comes from the poll summary:
The poll, conducted by national research firm Hamilton Campaigns, is based on a survey of 400 registered voters who are likely to vote in the November 2009 mayoral election in Houston. Voters were interviewed by telephone in the period July 17-20, 2009. The margin of error for a sample of this size is ±4.9 percentage points, at the 95% confidence level. The racial composition of the sample was 49% White, 33% Black, 15% Hispanic, 3% Other.
Which leads to the next question: Why is a poll from July just being released now? I can’t answer this question, but I do have to wonder how accurate the result is two months later, given the TV exposure Brown has had, among other things. This poll has far fewer undecideds than the more recent KHOU poll, which seems counterintuitive, though it could be a function of the likely voter screen each pollster used.
Beyond that, the main point I want to bring up is with the “informed voter” sample, in which Morales and Huntley were described as follows:
Roy Morales is a 51 year-old Hispanic and serves as Harris County School Trustee. Morales is passionate about our children receiving a proper education, staying in school, and staying off the streets. Morales understands that when our children grow up they are not only going to be competing for jobs with people here, but also with people in other countries like China and India. Morales is running for mayor to help move our children up the ladder of success — not with welfare or handouts — but with education and hard work.
T.J. Huntley is a 37 year-old Anglo successful businessman who is pro-life, believes marriage should be between a man and woman, and supports the right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment.
Now which one of those descriptions screams “Republican!” to you, and which one doesn’t? It’s no wonder that Morales’ total remained the same in each, while Huntley went from a complete non-entity to 12% of the vote. That basically tracks the boost Morales got from the “informed voter” sample in the KHOU poll, which unlike this one specified party identification. About ten percent of the vote is undecided Republicans. If they figure out who Roy is, he’ll easily crack double figures, and could affect who makes it to the runoff. If not, who knows what those folks will do – stay home, undervote, spread their support around, some combination. Roy has no money, but the Harris County GOP could try to whip up some support for him. We’ll see if they bother, or if they can afford it.
Anyway. This is an interesting result, but I’m not sure I know all that much more about the race than I did before I saw it. Houston Politics has more.