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McCain’s plateau in Texas

Via Poblano, I see that Rasmussen has a new Presidential poll for Texas.

John McCain continues to lead Barack Obama by nine points in Texas. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state finds the Republican ahead 50% to 41%. When “leaners” are included, McCain leads 52% to 44%.

McCain also had a nine point lead a month ago in the Lone Star State, after falling from a thirteen point lead in May.

Nationally, in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll, the race between McCain and Obama remains very close.

In Texas, the race among unaffiliated voters is quite close. This month, McCain leads 45% to 42% among those voters. The Republican’s lead among those voters has fallen significantly since the last poll, when he led 49% to 32%.

Remember that 44% number, since that’s the threshold for Democrats to at least “consolidate their gains” in the Legislature, as Texas Monthly put it; actually, they say that’s the case for Obama in the 42-44% range, so 44 is probably better than that. But what I notice is that 52 seems to be McCain’s plateau in Texas polls. Look at the poll roundup for Texas on Poblano’s page. Fifty-two percent is the best showing McCain has gotten, even in that super-favorable Baselice poll from May. Since then, McCain has held steady while Obama has climbed from 36 to 44. Given that this surely reflects Democrats “coming home”, plus a continued strong showing among Latinos, this is more evidence of a statewide partisan shift towards the Democrats. It’s modest, and it’s not enough to put the state in play by itself, but it’s there. Remember, in 2004 by this time George W. Bush was polling at 55% in Texas, and he wound up getting nearly all of the undecideds. Reaching 55% is looking like the best case scenario for McCain. That’s a huge swing in four years, and it may well bigger.

Rasmussen also has a Senate poll result.

The United States Senate race in Texas continues to get tighter this month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the Lone Star State finds Republican Incumbent John Cornyn leading Democratic State Legislator Rick Noriega 47% to 37%. When “leaners” are included, Cornyn leads 50% to 39%.

The incumbent senator is viewed favorably by 55% of voters and unfavorably by 31%. Noriega’s numbers are 45% favorable and 33% unfavorable.

July marks the second straight month that support for the incumbent has dropped below 50%. Last month, Cornyn had a 48% to 35% lead. Incumbents who poll below 50% are generally considered vulnerable. Cornyn polled better in early June, when he led the democrat 52% to 35%.

Though Cornyn’s lead has decreased this month, his numbers among unaffiliated voters have improved. The Republican now leads 41% to 24% among those voters. Support from his own party fell slightly this month, from 85% to 81%. On the other side of the aisle, Noreiga is now backed by 79% of Democrats, up from 68% last month.

The drop in Republican support for Cornyn is probably noise, though perhaps his recent spat with doctors has taken a toll; without seeing if there was a corresponding increase in Republican support for Noriega, I can’t say. But note again that Democratic support is consolidating, and there’s still room to grow there. The trend is in the right direction, in any event.

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