The other PPP April polls

In addition to their Presidential poll, Public Policy Polling asked about the Senate race and the future of Rick Perry. In their poll of the GOP Senate primary, they see things tightening up.

Every time PPP polls Texas the Republican Senate primary gets closer and closer. What was a 29 point lead for David Dewhurst in September has now been cut all the way down to 12 points. Dewhurst is at 38% to 26% for Ted Cruz, 8% for Tom Leppert, and 7% for Craig James.

Cruz’s support has increased from 12% to 18% to 26% over our last three polls. Meanwhile Dewhurst has remained stagnant in the 36-41% range. Cruz’s name recognition has increased from 29% to 48% with Republican primary voters since January and the change has almost all been positive. His favorability’s gone from 15/14 to 31/17. The other candidates have seen just modest gains in name recognition or none at all. Dewhurst’s favorability is 47/22, Leppert’s is 20/15, and James remains more disliked than popular with GOP voters at 14/21.

Dewhurst’s superior name recognition is the main reason he continues to hold a lead of any size over Cruz. Among voters who are familiar with Cruz- whether they have a positive opinion of him or not- Cruz leads Dewhurst 39-34. That suggests that as Cruz’s profile continues to increase this race may continue to get closer.

Burka thinks they’ve got this one wrong. I have no opinion. About the only outcome that would really surprise me is Craig James winning. Of interest to me were the general election matchups:

Dewhurst leads by 14-15 points against the main Democratic candidates, 50-35 over Sean Hubbard and 49-35 over Paul Sadler. The Democrats are a little bit closer to Cruz but still each trail him by 10 points- Hubbard is down 43-33 and Sadler is at a 44-34 disadvantage.

Leppert leads both the Democrats by double digits as well- he’s up 44-34 on Hubbard and 44-33 on Sadler. The only real chance Democrats have at winning this race is if the unpopular James somehow won the nomination. He leads the Democrats by considerably more narrow margins than the rest of the GOP field- it’s just 4 points at 40-36 over Sadler and 6 points at 41-35 over Hubbard.

What’s interesting about this is that David Dewhurst, who has held statewide office since 1998 and who has been Lt. Governor since 2002, does no better against a couple of little-known Democrats than Mitt Romney does against President Obama. Sadler and Hubbard’s numbers suffer from a high percentage of “don’t know/no answer” answers from African-American respondents, the vast majority of whom I daresay will eventually vote for them. I think in the end if he is the nominee Dewhurst’s margin of victory will be somewhat greater than Romney’s, but maybe not that much. Outside of the 2010 Governor’s race, there’s not been that wide a spread from one statewide race to another in the past two elections. The main factor driving differences in downballot races has been the undervote, which at least in Presidential years has been greater on the R side than the D side. However, that was not the case in the 2008 Senate race – John Cornyn (4,337,469) got nearly as many votes as John McCain (4,479,328); no other R with a D opponent topped 4.1 million, with a couple dipping below 4 million. I would expect a similar result this year, with the Dem Senate candidate suffering more from undervotes and/or third party votes, thus giving the Dew and possibly Cruz their wider margin. We’ll see if I’m right about that.

As for the Perry polling, I think they missed a chance to tell a better story.

Rick Perry’s future prospects for elected office in Texas are looking tenuous. Only 29% of voters think he should run for Governor again in 2014, while 64% think he should not. There’s actually some possibility he could win another term anyway though. 49% of Republicans think he should run again to 38% who think he should not and obviously if you win the Republican nomination in Texas you’re always going to start out in a pretty good position for the general.

The question isn’t how many Republicans would like for Perry to saddle up again in 2014, the question is how many would prefer him to Greg Abbott. Why not ask that question and give us an objective data point in the debate about whether Abbott will or should try to take Perry out? Yes, I know, it’s ridiculously early, but if you’re going to ask about whether or not Perry should run for President in 2016, that’s hardly an excuse. And if only to satisfy my curiosity about how a Governor’s race would play out in a Presidential year, why not ask about a Rick Perry-Bill White rematch? Or tease us with a Perry-Julian Castro race? Again, if we’re going to get all hypothetical, why not go all out and really grab the headlines? Maybe next time.

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One Response to The other PPP April polls

  1. joshua bullard says:

    I have met cruz and dew personally,its clear how this race turns out-dew under 50% with cruz the next under card-

    cruz takes the win in the run-off,this kid has set a grassroots camp thats on fire,dewhurst is just adding fuel to it..

    my hat is off to cruz for running a positive campaign..

    ps-charles kuffner-this is governor perry’s last term,but bill white is done in politics so youll have to look elsewhere in the political arena for your next “hope”candidate…

    joshua ben bullard

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