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Some people sound very threatened by that Quinnipiac Texas Senate poll

This is almost funny.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke

In its first-ever Texas poll, Quinnipiac University deemed the Senate race “too close to call” in reporting that 47 percent of Texas voters surveyed back Cruz and 44 percent support O’Rourke, an El Paso congressman. The pollster surveyed 1,029 self-identified registered voters this month, and reported a 3.6 percent margin of error.

But some Texas pollsters and political scientists say they have questions about the survey. While Quinnipiac is considered a quality outlet, and has an A-minus rating from FiveThirtyEight, they say the firm’s data appears out of step with Lone Star political realities.

“Nobody who looks at the record of polling and election results can plausibly look at this and say this tells us what the race will look like on Election Day,” said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “Democrats almost always tend to poll better in modern Texas in the spring than they actually earn votes” in November.

He dismissed describing the race as “too close to call” at this point in the contest, and said that, given the margin of error, one could also interpret the data to mean Cruz is leading by as much as six points.

Emphasis mine. See here for the background. I don’t know what polls Jim Henson is thinking of, but here are a few I can think of to disabuse him of that notion:

UT/Texas Trib, May 2010: Rick Perry 44, Bill White 35

UT/Texas Trib, May 2012: Mitt Romney 55, Barack Obama 35 (likely voters)

UT/Texas Trib, February 2014: Greg Abbott 47, Wendy Davis 36
UT/Texas Trib, June 2014: Greg Abbott 44, Wendy Davis 32

UT/Texas Politics Project, June 2016: Donald Trump 41, Hillary Clinton 33

Bill White got 42.3% of the vote. Barack Obama got 41.4% of the vote. Wendy Davis got 38.9% of the vote. Hillary Clinton got 43.2% of the vote. These November numbers all exceed, in some cases by a lot, lowball numbers for them that came from polls conducted in part by one Jim Henson. Would you care to revise and extend your remarks, Professor Henson?

I mean look, there are other polls from those years that do overstate Democratic support early on, and it is certainly the case in most of these polls that Republican support is understated, often by a lot. But as a I showed yesterday with the poll averages for Davis and Clinton, overstating support for Democratic candidates has never been a regular feature of polls in Texas, at any time of the year. There’s a lot of carping in this story, some from poli sci prof Mark Jones and some from Republican pollster Chris Wilson of Wilson Perkins Associates in addition to what we saw from Henson, about the demographics of the sample and the number of independents. I’ve made those complaints myself in other polls – in this one, does anyone really believe Ted Cruz is going to get close to 20% of the black vote? – so join the crowd, fellas. It’s one poll – from a respected pollster, but still – just as those other polls that had Beto at 34 and 37 were. Maybe subsequent polls will be more like those first two and 2018 will be another normal crap year for Texas Democrats. Maybe not. In the meantime, would you all like a little cheese with that whine? Daily Kos, which has a very measured view of this, has more.

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  1. Gary D says:

    You can see the biases of the people Texas media usually turns to first in discussing politics here.

  2. Robert Nagle says:

    Wow, good analysis here. Who knows what will fly in November, but I have been struck by how tone-deaf Cruz has been over the 6 years. Cruz may very well be closer in values to rural Texans, but he hasn’t really gone on any outreaches or charm offensives to woo on-the-fence voters. Cruz’s performance at the 2016 is likely to anger both Trump conservatives and moderate conservatives. I was never going to vote for Cruz, but I still feel angry at how his government shutdown resulted in the canceling of a government contract job which I had (and lost ) after working there only a week.

  3. Bill Daniels says:


    Cruz did anger people like me, a Trump libertarian, with his theatrics at the RNC convention, but I’ve gotten over it. Cruz get to run on lower taxes, keeping your guns, probably peace with North Korea, and a booming economy.

    Meanwhile, while Beto seems to be very personable, he gets to run on RAISING taxes, taking your guns, and slowing down the economy with more regulation. Cruz isn’t going to lose any votes that went to Trump in ’16. People who have gotten jobs or gotten better jobs, or even just benefited from the tax cuts, or got a company bonus are going to be less likely to to be motivated to go vote for Beto, because when it’s all said and done, people in the middle still vote with their wallets, and if things are going better for you, why would you go vote against what is working for you personally?

  4. Bill Daniels says:


  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Beto never said he would take away guns, and what he said about taxes can be found here,

    Cruz praises the Russian puppet while losing all dignity after the puppet called his wife ugly and claimed that Cruz father was part of the conspiracy that killed JFK. Lying Cruz.

    But some Trump lovers will support such liars,

    Some people like to repeat talking points of unprincipled people.

  6. robert says:

    Tax Cuts= running up your credit card bill

    eventually someone is going to pay, if anyone has kids, shame on you for passing your debt to your kids future.