A poll of the RRC race

Here you go:

Chrysta Castañeda

A new survey from nationally respected polling firm Global Strategy Group (GSG) shows that the combination of Chrysta Castañeda’s unique biography, her opponent Jim Wright’s potent negatives, and Donald Trump’s free-fall in Texas give Castañeda a clear path to victory in the race for the Texas Railroad Commission.

Unsurprisingly, the race for Texas Railroad Commission — which oversees Texas’ oil and gas industry — is currently unformed as neither candidate is well known, and a quarter of voters are undecided. But after voters hear balanced profiles of both candidates, Castañeda emerges with a six-point lead in an informed ballot test. That lead expands to 10 points after balanced negatives against each of the candidates are provided.

“I have seen few polls in recent years that show so clearly how much stronger one candidate is versus the other,” said Andrew Baumann, Senior Vice President at GSG, who conducted the poll. “Not only does Castañeda’s biography and agenda resonate strongly, but Wright’s negatives are also disqualifying.”

The poll didn’t just include good news for Castaneda. According to their findings, former Vice President and Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden leads Republican President Donald Trump by two points in Texas — a result that, if it holds, would have profound implications for the presidential race.

“It’s clear that Texans are hungry for change,” Chrysta said. “I believe that we can balance our demand for energy and a healthy oil and gas industry with the critical need to address the environmental concerns that endanger our children’s future. This is not a binary choice. I’m ready to bring practical, creative solutions to the Railroad Commission, and it looks like Texans are ready for me to do just that.”

For more on the survey, including the methodology, read the polling memo here.

From that polling memo:

  • The Texas political terrain has become much more favorable for Democrats as Trump trails by two after winning statewide by nine points in 2016. Joe Biden has a two-point lead over Trump in the race for president (47% Biden/45% Trump), including a six-point lead among self-identified independents (37% Biden/31% Trump). This is driven by Trump’s acute unpopularity among independents (33% fav/55% unfav). Republicans have just a two-point lead on the generic ballot for state representative (44% Democrat/46% Republican) and Democrats are more motivated to vote this November (79% of Democrats are extremely motivated to vote vs. 75% of Republicans who are extremely motivated to vote).
  • Wright holds a name ID advantage thanks to the contested GOP primary and sharing a name with the former Speaker of the U.S. House, but Castañeda starts within striking distance in a very open race. Jim Wright competed in a competitive Republican primary, which drove his name ID up with Republicans, but he is actually has higher name ID with Democrats, many of whom are likely mistaking him with the former Speaker of the U.S. House from Texas with the same name. As a result, his name ID, while not high at 26%, is higher than Castañeda’s (18%). Despite the lower level of familiarity, Castañeda is behind Wright by only six points, 31% Castañeda/37% Wright, with 8% going to Libertarian Matt Sterett and 24% undecided – with Democrats significantly more likely to be undecided than Republicans.
  • After a balanced introduction, Castañeda moves into a six-point lead which expands to double-digits after balanced negative. Following the initial ballot, voters heard profiles of equal length about both Castañeda and Wright (with Wright’s based on information from his own website). Following this simulated debate, Castañeda takes a six-point lead (45% Castañeda/39% Wright/5% Sterett), with 11% undecided. Voters then heard critiques of both candidates, with the critique of Wright focused on his legal troubles and the attack against Castañeda attempting to paint her (inaccurately) as a liberal Democrat who is backed by “radical environmental groups” and running on a “platform of implementing massive new job-killing regulations on the oil and gas industry” that will “kill the Texas Miracle.” As the table below shows, this exchange expands Castañeda’s lead to 10 points.

See here for more on that Jim Wright business, and you can click over to see the table. It’s 42-32-8, with 18 undecided, when the Libertarian candidate is named, and 47-38, with 15 undecided, when it’s just Castañeda and Wright. It’s always tricky to poll low-profile races like this precisely because the candidates are not well-known, but this is a plausible result. The Presidential numbers are in line with other recent polls, the initial Wright-versus-Castañeda totals make sense, with lots of undecideds that are mostly Democrats, and the push part of the poll is not outrageous. The key here of course is that Chrysta Castañeda would need to have enough money to run ads that deliver that information about herself and her opponent for any of this to matter. That’s one reason why candidates commission polls like these and then release them if they’re good enough. Castañeda doesn’t have that kind of money, or at least she didn’t as of July 6, but the money could be raised. And for sure, as with MJ Hegar and the judicial candidates, the better Joe Biden does in Texas the better the position Chrysta Castañeda will be in. The point here is that it is all quite doable. See The New Republic for more.

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7 Responses to A poll of the RRC race

  1. Manny says:

    I expect the Trump loving death squad brigade to make an appearance, hopefully I will be wrong.

    Trump and the Republicans are willing to sacrifice us old folks, they are certainly willing to sacrifice our children, so it is a given that tens of thousands of baby chicks is a small price to pay in their corrupt Democracy hating minds to help them steal an election.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    “I believe that we can balance our demand for energy and a healthy oil and gas industry with the critical need to address the environmental concerns that endanger our children’s future. This is not a binary choice. I’m ready to bring practical, creative solutions to the Railroad Commission, and it looks like Texans are ready for me to do just that.”

    It sounds like Chrysta is claiming to buck the policy of her own party, which is, an end to fracking, an end to offshore drilling, and basically not just a return to the policies that made America dependent on energy from foreign counties, but a whole brave new world of electricity blackouts, high energy prices, gas lines, etc.

    Here’s the thing. I would love to take Chrysta at her word, that she’s going to be the balanced moderate she claims to be, but we have so many examples from 2018 of other Texas candidates, like Lizzie Fletcher, saying the same thing, then, when elected, going on a seek and destroy mission against oil and gas and coal. We can see their House votes. It’s public record.

    Considering how important oil and gas is to our nation’s security, and Texas’ own economy, is it worth taking the risk that a Chrysta led Railroad Commission will stonewall permitting, harass producers and pipeline operators, etc.? If Chrysta goes with the official Biden policy of banning drilling on government owned lands and offshore, what does this do to Texas’ permanent university fund? The covid crisis is already having a deleterious effect on state finances, it’s scary to think what intentionally attacking a major industry will do to our already precarious position, reducing tax revenues while simultaneously increasing energy costs for both consumers and business.


    Spare me your crocodile tears about killing grandma. If you really cared about grandma, you would have been shouting from the rooftops about Cuomo, Whitmer, Wolf, and other governors who insisted that covid sufferers be sent to nursing homes full of…..old people, who paid with their lives because of those decisions.

    I’m not too happy with Abbott right now, but at least Abbott didn’t sentence our elderly nursing home residents to death. I guess that’s a low bar these days, but still…..

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Here’s a Chronicle article about a Biden presidency’s negative impact on Texas.


    “A drilling ban on federal lands and waters could cost the oil and gas industry up to 1 million jobs nationally by 2022, including 120,000 jobs in Texas, according to research from the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas trade group.

    The National Ocean Industries Association, an offshore oil and gas and wind trade group, forecasts offshore jobs in Texas could fall to 39,000 by 2040, down from 147,000 jobs in 2019, if there were a ban on drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico.

    “A ban on drilling offshore would be catastrophic,” said Erik Milito, president of NOIA. “There are small businesses in every state that provide expertise and services to the Gulf of Mexico.”

    Revenues from oil and gas royalties also would fall as drilling permits and leases expire. Oil and gas royalties from federal property totaled $9.3 billion in 2019, including more than $1 billion from offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. These oil and gas revenues are shared with states with more than $2 billion of revenue paid out to more than 35 states in 2019, including $57 million to Texas.”

    Scary stuff. These are real people’s lives in the balance.

  4. Ross says:

    Bill, I work for an oil company, and would honestly be happy to see more and better regulation that forces us to not push the cost of externalities on to everyone else. Most of the people I work with think the same way. A few examples:

    All companies should be forced to escrow abandonment costs in a fund where the money doesn’t go back to the company when a well is sold

    No flaring of gas from wells after the well is completed. If it’s not economic to do something with the gas, then the well shouldn’t be produced.

    Lower levels of acceptable methane release. It’s just not that hard to control those leaks.

    Elimination of many small companies that violate every environmental safety rule, because they can’t make money if they follow the rules.

    Stronger controls on offshore drilling. The industry can spare me the crocodile tears about the cost of better BOP’s.

    And bill, energy independence through higher production is pretty much a myth. It would be better to get there through conservation, but your god Trump thinks conservation is stupid, just like he is.

  5. Bill Daniels says:


    I don’t recall Trump being against conservation of energy, just asking that conservation be fairly balanced with cost and safety. For example, Team Obama thought that banning incandescent light bulbs was the way to go. Trump reversed that, thinking that you, the consumer, can make choices for yourself, vs. forcing a dystopian future where “all restaurants are Taco Bell.” I tried the CFL bulbs that ended up failing early, and in one case, came close to starting a fire in my home. Whatever energy savings I may have achieved with them did not come close to the extra cost I paid for the bulbs themselves.

    I currently have a few LED bulbs I am trying out. I’m happy to invest up front to lower my electricity demand going forward, but I would hope to at minimum, break even overall. The majority of bulbs in my house are incandescent, and I stocked up on them when Obama was making them illegal, so I can choose for myself what’s best.


    Do you remember when gas was $ 4 a gallon, and diesel was close to $ 5 a gallon? Remember how that broke the US economy? Remember the misery we all suffered? I sure do not want to go back there, which is why Trump’s ‘all of the above’ approach to energy is a good fit with my preference for low and stable energy prices. You’ll note Trump hasn’t used the power of his office to attack the wind and solar sectors (other than some mean tweets, LOL”. They compete openly in the marketplace without the federal government hamstringing them. Trump isn’t denying permits for solar farms or windmills. There isn’t a federal prohibition on wind and solar on federally owned property, for example. Compare and contrast with Biden’s attacks on your very own industry.

    It’s strange. Do you just feel that you personally won’t be fired if Biden wins and implements his agenda? What about your coworkers who will be fired? What about their families? Don’t their lives matter to you?

  6. Manny says:

    Have to admit Bill you made me laugh with you closer,

    “Don’t their lives matter to you.”

    Bill you have advocated for the murder of men, women, and children. Bill you support abortions because those are liberal fetuses and would grow up to be Democrats.

    Go ply your stupidity over where the low information people, your kind of people are, underneath a rock.

  7. Pingback: Once again, please pay some attention to the Railroad Commissioner race – Off the Kuff

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