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Last round of polls

The newspapers have another poll, and I have a question about it.

The survey of 673 likely voters found Perry leading Democratic nominee and former Houston Mayor Bill White 49 percent to 37 percent. They are followed by Green Party candidate Deb Shafto at 3 percent and Libertarian Kathie Glass at 2 percent, with 10 percent undecided or unsure. The survey, conducted Oct. 22-27, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

White essentially is mired at the same level of support he had when the race began last March, but Perry has moved up in the past month.

In September, Perry led White 46 percent to 39 percent. At that point, White had been advertising on television for several months, but Perry had just begun. Since then, Perry has spent millions of dollars on TV ads promoting himself and attacking White.

“The big story really here is just that Perry finally seems to have sealed the deal,” said pollster Micheline Blum, of Blum & Weprin Associates in New York. “I don’t think he feels terribly worried anymore.”

The survey was conducted for the Houston Chronicle, along with the San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The Express News version of this story says the poll was of “1,073 registered voters, including 673 likely to vote”. The question I have, given that this poll was conducted between Days 5 and 9 of early voting, is why wouldn’t you ask people if they have already voted? Seems to me those are a decent chunk of your truly likely voters by now. At the very least, you can see how things differ between those who have voted and those who have not (yet) voted. I have no idea why the pollster didn’t take this approach. You can add that to the problems I had with their previous poll.

Oh, and Shafto at three points? I don’t think so. I’ll put the over/under for that at one, and at the risk of repeating myself, I’ll take the under.

I should note that Public Policy Polling did take ask their respondents if they had voted, and their numbers aren’t encouraging.

Rick Perry’s in a solid position for reelection as Governor of Texas, leading Bill White 53-44 on PPP’s final poll of the race.

For White it may be a classic case of the right candidate running in the wrong cycle. He has strong favorability numbers at a 46/39 spread while Perry can only break even on his approval rating at 45% giving him good marks and 45% bad ones. White leads with independent voters 50-44. That makes him one of very few Democratic candidates anywhere in the country leading with that group this year and it’s all the more impressive given that Barack Obama’s approval rating with that same ground of independents is a 33/55 spread.

Ultimately though to win as a Democrat in Texas you’re going to have to win a fair amount of crossover support from Republican voters and in the end White just wasn’t able to do it. Just 11% of GOP voters are planning to support him, a number equivalent to the 11% of Democrats who plan to vote for Perry. In this highly polarized political climate Republicans just aren’t particularly inclined to vote for any Democrat, even an unusually appealing one like White.

You can see their data here. Forty-four percent of their sample reported having already voted, and Perry’s lead with them was 56-44. That is a pretty small sample (44% of their 568 respondents is 250), making its margin of error 6.2%, but that’s a mighty thin reed on which to hang hopes. PPP did report, as it had before, that there was no enthusiasm gap in Texas, which it defines by comparing the partisan makeup of the 2010 electorate to that of 2008. They just didn’t see White getting enough crossover support to win. My gut says that the level of White’s Republican support is understated by PPP, but the only recent poll with a sufficient level of detail to compare it to is that UT/Trib poll, which I don’t trust at all. We’ll have to see what the precinct data ultimately tells us.

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  1. John says:

    Time for White to focus on his Senate primary against John Sharp. I still go back to the point I think McCain beat Obama 54-45 (or so) and given all that has happened in the past yr I don’t see any way that a Dem can improve on that in a statewide ballot. Plus based on your daily voter reports the R’s have come out stronger in Houston, where White needed a big D turnout.

    Once again if Democrats in Texas are serious about building the state party they need to stop donating money out of state and invest it in Texas.

  2. wanting to get some facts says:

    .Hey listen, your normal straight forward analysis have been over shadowed by your own bias.
    Of course White is going to lose. Did you see him on TV last night? He was calling voters from a phone bank for the media and he was getting answering machines? What kind of campaign is that!
    The White folks brag that they made 120k calls this week! What are they running for state senate? How do you run for state office in TX and think bragging about 120k calls in one week is a good talking point.
    They also put out a brag sheet on his travels. White went to 14 chamber events since December and hold on the game changer: 17 Rotary club events. Holy shit what is this a race for high school class president?
    There has never been a lamer campaign with the resources that this guy has raised to blow such an opportunity (even fat tony was blowing his own daddy’s dough). It looks like White will fall below 40 and take down a dozen or more state house races with him.
    Maybe Sharp or Edwards can make a comeback in 2012