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UT-Tyler: Trump still looks weak in Texas

Two months later, there may be a story line to watch.

Beto O’Rourke

Beto O’Rourke remains competitive against President Donald Trump in a Texas head-to-head matchup, according to a poll released Thursday by the Center for Opinion Research at the University of Texas at Tyler.

The poll, conducted over three days following last week’s debate in Houston, shows O’Rourke polling better against Trump in a head-to-head matchup than every other Democratic contender except former Vice President Joe Biden.

Both led Trump by 2 percentage points in hypothetical matchups. Four other candidates tested against Trump lagged behind the president, though Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont trailed by less than the 2.8-percentage-point margin of error.

O’Rourke’s campaign boasted that the results vindicate his stance on gun control. He has caught flak from members of both parties since forcefully demanding mandatory buybacks of assault weapons in the Houston debate.

His gun confiscation proposal drew support from 49% of Texans in the UT-Tyler poll, while other plans drew broader support. Nearly 85% supported universal background checks for gun purchases. A “red flag” law that would let law enforcement take guns from someone deemed dangerous drew support from 65%.

Far more Texans — 59% — support an assault weapons sales ban that would let owners keep guns they already own. Gun rights advocates view confiscation as unconstitutional.

[…]

Trump continues to poll underwater in Texas, showing a 40% job approval rating among all respondents. Approval is much higher among Republicans and much lower among Democrats.

See here for the previous poll, from late July. The UT-Tyler Center for Opinion Research press release is here and the poll data is here. Trump’s approval numbers were 40.3% approve, 54.5% disapprove in July, and 39.6% approve, 52.3% disapprove in September. The “will vote for” number he gets, in each matchup, is a close approximation of his approval number. A thing that I noticed that I want to point out, though it’s far too soon to draw any conclusions about it, is how Trump does with Dems and with Republicans.


Candidates   Dem %  GOP %  Ind %  Tot %
=======================================
Biden        74.6%   8.0%  33.1%  39.6%
Trump         2.7%  81.5%  20.9%  38.0%
Neither/NS   22.6%  10.5%  46.0%  22.4%

Warren       69.2%   7.8%  28.1%  36.5%
Trump         3.0%  82.9%  25.9%  39.5%
Neither/NS   27.8%   9.3%  46.0%  24.0%

Harris       61.5%   6.5%  23.6%  31.8%
Trump         3.2%  82.1%  25.5%  39.4%
Neither/NS   35.4%  11.5%  50.9%  28.9%

Sanders      72.0%   6.8%  32.5%  37.9%
Trump         2.6%  82.8%  26.4%  39.6%
Neither/NS   25.5%  10.4%  41.2%  22.5%

Buttigieg    57.0%   6.6%  25.1%  30.4%
Trump         3.2%  82.1%  25.6%  39.3%
Neither/NS   39.8%  11.3%  49.3%  30.3%

Beto         79.2%   8.2%  35.4%  42.0%
Trump         3.5%  82.2%  26.5%  39.7%
Neither/NS   18.3%   9.6%  38.1%  18.3%

“Neither/NS” is the sum of the “Neither/Other” and “Not Sure” responses. Trump gets nearly identical levels of support among Dems and Republicans against each potential opponent. The range of support for him is a bit wider among indies, but indies are also the smallest sample so those numbers may just be more volatile as a result. All Dems get roughly the same amount of support among Republicans. There’s more variance among indies, but by far the biggest variable is the level of support among Dems for each candidate. Beto as native son does best, followed by the two previous Presidential candidates – and thus the best known among them – Biden and Bernie, with Elizabeth Warren a notch behind. Farther down are Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg. They had Julian Castro in the July sample but not this one.

You can compare to the July data, where Trump did a bit better among Republicans and Dems but worse among indies, giving him roughly the same overall numbers. This will be worth watching for trends if UT-Tyler keeps pumping these out every other month, but beyond that it’s only two data points. My main argument here is that Trump seems to have a ceiling, and it’s lower than that of the Dems. Dem voters who haven’t made up their minds or who have a preference than isn’t the named candidate in the given question have the option of giving a non-committal answer. They’re not defecting to Trump, they’re just keeping their powder dry. Fewer Republicans are similarly ambivalent about Trump, and quite a few more are actively against him. That leaves him less room to grow, at least among the easier to get voters. If all of this is for real, then when the Dems have a nominee, or at least a much smaller number of choices, I’d expect to see the Dem candidates’ support get consolidated. That’s what is worth watching.

Now again, there’s the apparent correlation between the approval number and the “would vote for” number, so if the former goes up the latter may as well. And as noted before, this sample seems unusually Democratic, which may be skewing things. The good news is that there is just a lot more polling activity here this cycle, so there will be many chances to see if this poll is in the mainstream or an outlier. For now, the basics of it look better for the Dems than for Trump.

As for the gun control questions, they’re interesting and worth considering, but even with the baby steps Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott have taken in that direction, I don’t think it means much. Lots of things poll well in Texas but have zero traction because literally no elected Republicans in the Lege or statewide agree with that position. There are some tiny cracks in the ice now because of the 2018 elections, but it’s going to take a lot more Republicans losing elections for it to truly matter.

Univision News poll: Trump 42, Dem 47

Here’s a fun poll.

Days away from the third Democratic debate in Houston and over a year from the 2020 presidential election, an exclusive poll by Univision News found that 40% of registered voters in the state say they will vote for the Democrat who prevails in the party’s primary, while 33% say they will support president Trump. If undecided voters leaning one way or the other are included, the advantage would be 47% to 42% in favor of the Democrats.

The Latino vote could be decisive. A large majority of Hispanics (69%) surveyed in the state said they intend to vote for the Democratic candidate, compared with 19% who plan to support Trump (also including undecided voters who are leaning one way or another).

According to Census data, Hispanics represented 40% of the population of Texas last year and during the 2018 elections Hispanics constituted more than 24% of registered voters. The Univision national poll, conducted by Latino Decisions and North Star Opinion, measured the presidential preferences of Hispanics in this election cycle and included a specific module for Texas with the support of the Center for Mexican-American Studies at the University of Houston in which included a sample of all state voters.

Senator Bernie Sanders would win the state (48% against 42%). Similarly, former Vice President Joe Biden would win the state (47% to 43%), and the same would happen with Senator Warren (44% to 42%).

[…]

According to the national poll, President Trump’s management style continues to generate a strong rejection among Hispanics, with four out of five registered voters disapproving of the president’s performance. At the same time, according to the survey, Democrats have gained support from Latinos who were undecided.

In this latest poll, which comes on the eve of Thursday’s debate in Houston in which all the leading Democratic candidates will share the same stage for the first time, 62% of Latinos reported that they will support any Democrat who opposes the president.

This is the most favorable poll for Dems versus Trump in Texas so far – compare to the Quinnipiac June poll, the UT/Trib June poll, the UT-Tyler July poll, and the August Emerson poll. In part, this is because Trump’s approval numbers are terrible – 44% approve of the job he’s doing, 56% disapprove. There does seem to be a correlation between the two in the polls we’ve seen so far, which makes sense but may not be conclusive. Trump did outperform his approval numbers in 2016, but he wasn’t President then, he didn’t have a record to defend, and he had the good luck to run against someone whose own approval numbers were lousy. At least the first two of those will not be true this time.

The poll has three results for each question – there’s a national Latino result (1,043 Latino RVs), a Texas Latino result (641 Texas Latino RVs), and an overall Texas result (1,004 Texas RVs). You can see how the questions break out, in many different combinations of candidate and query, and you can see it in tabular form with the wording of the questions here. To save you some clicking and scrolling, here are the headline numbers:


Matchup     LatinTX  All TX
===========================
Trump           19%     42%
Democrat        69%     47%

Trump           19%     43%
Biden           60%     47%

Trump           19%     42%
Sanders         68%     48%

Trump           20%     42%
Warren          64%     44%

Trump           19%     44%
Harris          60%     45%

Trump           20%     41%
Castro          62%     44%

Trump           21%     41%
Booker          63%     43%

Cornyn          22%     41%
Democrat        58%     40%

All numbers are for Texas, with the first number being from the Latino subsample and the second number being overall. Not a whole lot of difference, and where there are differences it’s usually in the Undecideds. Note they also threw in a Senate question, though just a generic one. It probably wouldn’t make much difference if they asked about individual candidates, as the polls we’ve seen so far, one from August and one from this week suggest the Dem candidates aren’t sufficiently well known for there to be much difference between them. On that note, here’s the more recent poll of the Texas Senate primary:

Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar, of Round Rock, an Afghanistan War veteran who nearly unseated a veteran GOP congressman last year, came out on top – barely.

Hegar polled at 12 percent, followed by three candidates with 10 percent: State Sen. Royce West; activist Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez; and Houston City Councilwoman Amanda Edwards. Chris Bell, a former congressman from Houston, had 9 percent in the poll.

The survey of 600 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted from Sept. 3-5 by Ragnar Research Partners of Austin and Washington. The margin of error is 3.9 percent.

I wouldn’t worry too much about Dem Senate primary polls for now. In the Univision poll, John Cornyn does about as well as Trump, with the slight differences on both sides again coming from an increase in the undecideds. Cornyn did basically as well as John McCain in the 2008 election, the main difference in the two races being the larger share of the vote going to the third-party candidate. His 12-point margin over Rick Noriega was identical to McCain’s 12-point margin over Barack Obama. This suggests that there won’t be that much difference between Cornyn and Trump when the 2020 votes are counted. That in turn suggests to me that the not-Trump voters from 2016 who voted more or less Republican otherwise but went much more Democratic in 2018 will likely repeat their more recent behavior in 2020. I don’t want to go too far out on the limb for this – polling data is still preliminary and scarce – but it’s something to keep an eye on. It’s long been my belief that the not-Trump voters will stay with the Dems in 2020, and after that who knows, and if so that makes the path for Dems easier to navigate. But as they say, there’s still a lot of time. Now we wait for the next poll.

Emerson’s weird polls

It’s a poll, so we do the thing.

Joe Biden

A new poll has former Vice President Joe Biden leading Beto O’Rourke in the Texas presidential primary and toppling Donald Trump in a head-to-head showdown.

The survey, conducted by Emerson College for The Dallas Morning News, signals that even with two favorite sons in race, Lone Star State voters want a familiar face as their nominee.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the 2016 runner-up to Hillary Clinton for the party’s nomination, was third with 16% and the only other Democrat beating Trump in the general election.

The poll also projects a wide-open Democratic primary race for the Senate seat held by longtime incumbent John Cornyn. At 19%, “someone else” is leading the field, a blow to former Army helicopter pilot MJ Hegar, who’s been campaigning for most of the year.

That “someone else” is leading the entire field is an oddity, but reflects the complexity of the primary race and the conundrum felt by many Democrats.

Hegar was the choice of 10% of those polled, followed by state Sen. Royce West at 8%, former U.S. Rep. Chris Bell at 7% and Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards at 5%. A whopping 51% of respondents were unsure.

West, Bell and Edwards are all relatively new to the race.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see other people jump into the race,” said Spencer Kimball, the Emerson College polling director. “It’s just that wide open.”

The news is not great for Cornyn, the powerful incumbent who’s held the seat since 2003. Only 37% approved of his job performance, while 31% disapproved. The polls found that 33% of Texans were neutral or had no opinion.

For whatever the reason, the story only includes the head-to-head results in a non-embeddable graphic, so I will reproduce it here:


Candidate   Pct   Trump
=======================
Biden       51%     49%
Bernie      51%     49%
O’Rourke    48%     52%
Buttigieg   48%     52%
Warren      48%     52%
Castro      47%     53%

The poll is of 1,033 registered voters, with a 3% margin of error. They use a combination of automated calls to landlines and an online panel, as described here. You can find the crosstabs here, in a downloadable spreadsheet. They really didn’t want to make this easily to summarize, did they? The head-to-head numbers are very similar to the ones from their April poll, and are not far off from the Quinnipiac poll from June; the UT/Trib poll from June didn’t include two-candidate matchups.

I find the Emerson numbers dicey because I just don’t trust polls where the responses add up to one hundred percent. I guarantee you, there are “don’t know” and “someone else” responses in there, but their questions (scroll down past the disclosure stuff) do not allow for those answers. The crosstabs show that everyone surveyed picked someone, but if you have no choice but to give an answer, I don’t know how much I trust that answer. I’m much more comfortable with a poll that allows for “someone else” and “don’t know”. Emerson has a B+ rating from FiveThirtyEight, but I remain skeptical.

I don’t much care for Spencer Kimball’ analysis of the Senate race, either. MJ Hegar has been in the Senate race for ten weeks, not “most of the year”. She did say she was considering a run for Senate in February, but wasn’t raising any money or doing any campaigning until late April. All the other candidates have gotten in more recently. As I’ve noted before, Beto was still polling in the “majority of people don’t know who he is” area right up to the March 2018 primary. It’s going to take time – and money – for the people to know who the candidates are.

Also, too, the field for Senate is highly unlikely to get much bigger. There’s one potential new candidate out there, though nearly a month after that story I haven’t heard much about her. It’s already later than you think in the cycle, and it’s not going to get any easier to start fundraising and traveling the state to meet interest groups and primary voters. And as I’ve noted before, the fields for all of the Congressional races of interest in 2018 were basically set by this time two years ago. Each of the four top tier candidates entered the race only after some period of weeks or months of speculation, expressions of interest, exploration, and so forth. The only non-candidate out there right now with any association to the race is Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, and she only gets mentioned occasionally. If the primary field isn’t set, it’s close.

Anyway. I’m still waiting for some head-to-head Senate polling. Even if the candidates are basically unknowns at this point, a “Cornyn versus generic Dem” question still has value. Maybe the Trib will give me that in their October poll. In the meantime, enjoy the results we do have, for whatever they are worth.

That UT-Tyler poll

I suppose I have to talk about this.

A poll conducted by the Center for Opinion Research at the University of Texas at Tyler showed [Beto O’Rourke] leading among Texas voters in the Democratic presidential primary. The survey showed O’Rourke with a 27% to 24% lead over former Vice President Joe Biden. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was third at 15%, followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 11% and California Sen. Kamala Harris at 9%.

The poll of 465 registered Texas voters found that O’Rourke led President Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup by a 49% to 37% margin.

You can see a copy of the polling memo here and the data here. I’ll note that the poll itself says it’s a sample of 1,445 registered voters, so I’m not sure where that 465 figure comes from. Here’s a bit from the polling memo:

President Donald Trump’s job approval is down 2 points from our last survey in February. It now stands at 40 percent approval and 55 percent disapproval among all registered voters. These results are a part of an overall downward trend in job approval for the president since our pre-midterm election survey in October 2018 (45 percent approval and 44 percent disapproval). That said, when asked if the House of Representatives should or should not begin impeachment proceedings of President Trump, a plurality of respondents (45%) said, “No” (34% believe the House ought to begin impeachment proceedings).

In head to head contests, President Trump is trailing all Democrats except Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, though a sizable percentage of respondents answered “neither/other” or “not sure” in each contest.

Senator John Cornyn, heading into the 2020 reelection cycle, is at 25 percent approval, with 27 percent disapproving and a sizable 48 percent answering, “Don’t know.” His junior colleague, Ted Cruz, has a 41 percent approval rating, with 44 percent disapproving of his job performance.

On issues, 54 percent of registered Texans support expanding “Medicare for all” (20% oppose it), particularly when private insurance plans are allowed (55% support). Nevertheless, expanding “Medicare for all” while eliminating private insurance plans is less popular (40% support eliminating private insurance, 33% oppose it). So, too, is the idea of decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings (33% either “somewhat” or “strongly” disapprove while 29% “somewhat” or “strongly” approve), an issue that caused a contentious exchange between Texans O’Rourke and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro at June’s Democratic debate.

This poll was conducted over a four-day period (07/24/19 – 07/27/19).

Methodology

The UT Tyler-Texas Opinion Survey was conducted using a Dynata panel of registered voters that opt-in to take surveys. This is known as Aristotle. The online panel generated a sample of 1445 registered Texas voters, 18 or older.

The data were weighted to be representative of Texas adults. The weighting balanced sample demographics to population parameters. The sample is balanced to match parameters for gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, and geographic region using an iterated process known as raking. These parameters were derived from 2016 Current Population Survey Voting and Registration Tables, as well as voter registration information from the Texas Secretary of State’s Office. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the characteristics of the sample closely reflect the characteristics of registered voters in Texas.

In this poll, the sampling error for 1445 registered voters in Texas is +/- 2.6 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval.

Online polls have been shown to be fine, but I don’t know much about this particular pollster’s reputation. Here’s the key graphic from that polling memo:

Seems weird to me – I can imagine Beto doing better in Texas than some candidates, but not by this much. G. Elliott Morris notes his objections. I don’t have a problem with an RV sample, especially this early on, but the partisan mix (38.2% self-identified Republican, 35.7% Dem) seems too Democratic to me. Trump’s 40-55 approve-disapprove numbers are considerably more negative than any other poll I’ve seen, and are way more negative than this own poll found just before the 2018 election. Their February poll had only slightly better numbers for Trump. It’s hard to imagine what caused that to go that far down that quickly. The most likely explanation to all of this is that they have a screwy sample, in which case have plenty of salt at hand. If they really are capturing something, there will be more polls to bolster this one. Keep your expectations modest, that’s my advice.

Anyway. The UT Tyler Center for Opinion Research page is here if you want to see more. Enjoy these numbers for what they are, but don’t go making any bets on them.

Still ridiculously early poll: Biden leads Trump by four

Encouraging, but the usual caveats apply.

President Donald Trump is locked in too-close-to-call races with any one of seven top Democratic challengers in the 2020 presidential race in Texas, where former Vice President Joseph Biden has 48 percent to President Trump with 44 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Other matchups by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll show:

  • President Trump at 46 percent to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 45 percent;
  • Trump at 47 percent to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 44 percent;
  • Trump at 48 percent to former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke with 45 percent;
  • Trump with 46 percent to South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s 44 percent;
  • Trump at 47 percent to California Sen. Kamala Harris at 43 percent;
  • Trump with 46 percent and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro at 43 percent.

In the Trump-Biden matchup, women back Biden 54 – 39 percent as men back Trump 50 – 42 percent. White voters back Trump 60 – 33 percent. Biden leads 86 – 7 percent among black voters and 59 – 33 percent among Hispanic voters.

Republicans back Trump 90 – 8 percent. Biden leads 94 – 4 percent among Democrats and 55 – 33 percent among independent voters.

[…]

Texas voters give Trump a split 48 – 49 percent job approval rating. Men approve 55 – 43 percent, as women disapprove 55 – 42 percent.

This is an improvement for all Dems, especially Biden, over the February results. It’s all still ridiculously early and all, but there are two things I’d focus on here. One is Trump’s level of support among white voters. Mitt Romney regularly polled at 70 percent or higher among Anglos, with President Obama generally in the low-to-mid 20’s. I’ve been saying all along that the big step forward Dems took in 2018 was partly about former Republicans, turned off by Trump, switching their allegiance. Turnout mattered a lot, of course, but this was an extra boost in the fuel. I don’t want to make too much out of one number on one poll, but keep an eye on that as more results get published over time. If Trump can’t dominate among Anglo voters, he and the rest of the GOP are in trouble.

Along those same lines, note that in neither of these Q-polls has Trump topped 48% overall against any opponent. If this continues, especially with other pollsters, it’s reasonable to think of this as more or less his ceiling. Again, look at my sidebar for the Obama numbers from 2012, which generally fit into a tight range of 38 to 41 percent; his final total was 41.38%. Trump is a known quantity. People may or may not know a given opponent to him at this point, but they know who he is, and they know how they feel about him. Unlike 2016, it seems likely that the undecided voters will not break in his favor. Turnout is very much a factor here – how people feel, and whether or not they vote on those feelings, matters a lot – but the longer we go with Trump not doing any better than this, the more the “Texas is in play” narrative will take hold.

Ridiculously early Quinnipiac poll: Trump has a small lead

Consider this to be for entertainment purposes only.

In a very early look at possible 2020 presidential matchups in Texas, President Donald Trump is essentially tied with former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders or former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. President Trump leads other possible Democratic contenders by small margins.

Hypothetical matchups by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll show:

  • President Trump at 47 percent, including 41 percent of independent voters, to Biden’s 46 percent, including 46 percent of independent voters;
  • Trump at 47 percent, including 41 percent of independent voters, to Sanders’ 45 percent, including 48 percent of independent voters;
  • Trump at 47 percent, including 41 percent of independent voters, to O’Rourke’s 46 percent, including 48 percent of independent voters.

Trump has leads, driven mainly by a shift among independent voters, over other possible Democratic candidates:

  • 46 – 41 percent over former San Antonio Mayor and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro;
  • 48 – 41 percent over U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California;
  • 48 – 41 percent over U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Biden, Sanders and O’Rourke share similar support among Democrats and voters 18 – 34 years old.

“The 2020 presidential race in Texas, and how some of Democrats stack up against President Donald Trump, begins as a two-tiered contest. There are three more well-known contenders who run evenly against President Donald Trump. Another group, less well-known, are just a little behind Trump,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

“Former Vice President Joe Biden has the highest favorability of any of the contenders and has a better net favorability than President Trump,” Brown added. “Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke also does relatively well on favorability and in a matchup with Trump, but that may well be due to O’Rourke being a home-state favorite.

“But former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, who is also a former San Antonio mayor, does not do as well as O’Rourke.”

Among Texas voters, 47 percent have a favorable opinion of Trump, with 49 percent unfavorable. Favorability ratings for possible Democratic challengers are:

  • Biden: 48 – 38 percent;
  • Sanders: Negative 41 – 47 percent;
  • O’Rourke: Divided 44 – 40 percent;
  • Harris: Negative 24 – 33 percent;
  • Warren: Negative 27 – 42 percent;
  • Castro: Divided 23 – 27 percent;
  • U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey: 51 percent haven’t heard enough to form an opinion;
  • Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: 53 percent haven’t heard enough to form an opinion;
  • U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: 68 percent haven’t heard enough to form an opinion;
  • U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota: 70 percent haven’t heard enough to form an opinion.

Texas Senate Race

In an early look at the 2020 U.S. Senate race in Texas, Republican incumbent Sen. John Cornyn and possible Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke are tied 46 – 46 percent. Independent voters go to O’Rourke 47 – 40 percent.

From February 20 – 25, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,222 Texas voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points, including the design effect.

I’m gonna bullet-point this one:

– It’s ridiculously early. Don’t overthink this.

– Differences between the top three Dems and everyone else is at least 95% about name recognition and nothing else.

– We just don’t have any polls from similar time frames to compare to. The earliest polls from the 2016 and 2012 cycles that I tracked were from the actual election years, mostly after the nominees had been settled. More than a year later in the cycle from where we are now, in other words.

– That said, the high level of responses is interesting, and probably reflects the fact that basically everyone has an opinion about Donald Trump. In that sense, the dynamic is more like 2012, which was also a Presidential re-election year. Look at the numbers on the right sidebar for 2012, and you’ll see that there were very few “undecided” or “other” respondents. If that is a valid basis for comparison, then Trump starts out at least a couple of points behind Mitt Romney. Given that Romney wound up at 57%, that’s not necessarily a bad place for him to be. Romney also never polled below fifty percent, so there’s that. Again, it’s stupid early. Don’t overthink this.

– There are reports now that Beto will not be running for Senate, in which case we can ignore those numbers even more. I’ll wait till I see the words from Beto himself, but to be sure he’s not talked much if at all about running for Senate again, so this seems credible to me. Without Beto in the race, if that is indeed the case, Cornyn will probably poll a bit better than Trump, at least early on when name recognition is again a factor. In the end, though, I think Cornyn rises and falls with Trump. I can imagine him outperforming Trump by a bit, but not that much. If it’s not Beto against Cornyn, I look forward to seeing who does jump in, and how they poll later on in the cycle.

Precinct analysis: 2016 Democratic Presidential primary

I love the smell of precinct data in the morning, don’t you? Here’s a breakdown of the Democratic Presidential primary vote for Harris County:


Dist   Bernie Hillary  Bernie%   Hill%
======================================
126     2,315   4,649   33.04%  66.35%
127     2,621   4,905   34.54%  64.64%
128     1,756   3,532   32.46%  65.30%
129     3,425   5,247   39.24%  60.12%
130     2,376   3,692   38.89%  60.44%
131     2,481  10,874   18.40%  80.65%
132     2,619   4,547   36.26%  62.95%
133     2,980   5,561   34.79%  64.92%
134     5,588  11,759   32.11%  67.57%
135     2,672   4,892   35.10%  64.27%
137     1,824   3,374   34.76%  64.30%
138     2,500   4,093   37.68%  61.70%
139     2,711  10,826   19.81%  79.12%
140     1,312   4,145   23.58%  74.50%
141     1,453   8,499   14.46%  84.57%
142     2,086   9,663   17.53%  81.20%
143     2,037   6,403   23.47%  73.78%
144     1,336   3,044   29.83%  67.96%
145     2,749   5,403   33.11%  65.07%
146     3,089  11,078   21.62%  77.52%
147     4,819  12,743   27.20%  71.91%
148     3,901   7,365   34.24%  64.64%
149     2,079   5,523   27.04%  71.84%
150     2,595   4,994   33.96%  65.36%

Percentages don’t add up to 100 because of the other candidates, whose totals I didn’t show. I’ve said before that races that aren’t close seldom offer interesting precinct data. That’s the case here, where Hillary Clinton took over 70% of the vote in Harris County. There was some variation – as has been the case around the country, Clinton dominated in the predominantly African-American districts, while Sanders’ six best districts were all Republican-held, and no coincidentally predominantly Anglo. Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot to say. Clinton lost the county in 2008, though she did do well in Anglo and Latino districts (apologies for the formatting on that one; I was still using Movable Type back then, and the code apparently didn’t port that well to WordPress). Different year, different result. I’ll look at the Republican Presidential primary tomorrow.

2016 Presidential primaries: Clinton and Cruz win in Texas

A good night for Hillary Clinton.

Once again, Texas delivered for a Clinton.

The Texas Tribune projects that Hillary Clinton has easily won a majority of the statewide vote in the Texas Democratic primary, dominating her rival for the party’s nomination, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

As she struggled early on against Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire, her campaign promised the tide would turn once the primary turned to states with substantive minority voting blocs – states like Texas.

Clinton was projected to rack up wins elsewhere Tuesday, in Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, according to national media outlets. Sanders was projected to win Vermont, his home state.

[…]

Hillary Clinton only held one public event in the state – in Houston. Instead, she delegated campaigning duties to her husband who also worked as a Democratic National Committee staffer on the 1972 George McGovern presidential campaign.

“This is a really impressive result and it reflects Hillary’s ties to this city and this county,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, at the campaign’s San Antonio victory party. “She did not need an introduction to Texas because of those deep roots here and Sen. Sanders was a newcomer, so she had almost a home-court advantage but she handled it very effectively.”

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and mayor of San Antonio Henry Cisneros said Clinton drew from a diverse coalition of support among Texas voters.

“It’s a combination of the loyalty of the Hispanic and African-American communities in Texas who appreciate what she’s done and the groundedness of other Democratic groups like the unions who can distinguish between the abstractions of a candidate like Bernie Sanders and a get-it-done experienced candidate like Hillary Clinton,” Cisneros said.

Here are the statewide results. If you scroll all the way to the bottom, you’ll see that she did very well in individual Senate districts as well, which is how the delegates get doled out. All in all, about as good a night for her as could have been expected.

Not so great for Ted Cruz, despite winning Texas.

Ted Cruz on Tuesday was winning the presidential primary in Texas, carrying his second state in the Republican race for the White House, and apparently notching a third with a narrow edge in Oklahoma.

The Iowa caucus winner was projected to beat billionaire Donald Trump, who had posed a serious threat to Cruz in Texas, even tying him in one recent poll. Cruz’s campaign, not wanting to take any chances, sent the candidate on an 11th-hour tour of the state Monday to shore up support.

In early, unofficial returns Cruz was hovering around 40 percent of the GOP vote, with Trump about 10 percentage points behind.

After news networks called Texas for Cruz, chants of “Ted!” broke out at his election night party at the Redneck County Club.

Shortly after the Texas call, Cruz was also projected to win the Oklahoma primary. Cruz led Trump by about five percentage points, 35 percent to 30 percent. Cruz’s performance outside Texas and its northern neighbor on Tuesday night was otherwise disappointing.

The outcome was a far cry from predictions six months ago, when Cruz called Tuesday’s SEC primary his “firewall,” predicting it would be the day on which he made major progress toward securing the nomination. Up until the final hours before polls closed Tuesday, Cruz was arguing that he was running “neck and neck” with Trump across the Super Tuesday states.

In actuality, Donald Trump kicked Cruz’s butt in most of the other states. But hey’ it could have been worse for Cruz. He could have been Marco Rubio, after all. Statewide GOP results are here.

I did not stay up till the bitter end, but there’s plenty of info out there if you still need it. Basically, it’s looking a lot like Clinton versus Trump. I don’t expect either of them to have a clear field after tonight, but they both sure have a clear path.

Lots more Texas primary poll results

It’s a veritable plethora, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s start with this one, which looks good for Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz.

vote-button

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has a commanding 12-point lead in his home state over businessman Donald Trump as the candidates head into Tuesday’s GOP presidential primary in Texas, according to a Texas Pulse/American-Statesman poll conducted Feb. 19 to 22. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is a distant third.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has an overwhelming 66 to 26 percent lead over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, according to the poll of likely Texas voters, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research for Crosswind Media & Public Relations.

[…]

Among Texas Republicans, the poll found Cruz was first with 38 percent to 26 percent for Trump, 13 percent for Rubio, 7 percent for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and 6 percent for Dr. Ben Carson. The survey was conducted before and after Saturday’s South Carolina primary, but it concluded before Tuesday’s Nevada caucuses. In both of those contests, Trump won handily with Rubio in second and Cruz a close third.

With the race in flux, polling on the Texas GOP primary has been erratic. An Emerson College survey also released Wednesday found Cruz and Trump virtually tied in the Lone Star State, suggesting that Cruz’s home-field advantage might be eroding after a string of disappointing finishes and bad headlines.

Nonetheless, Cruz’s presidential bid has more home state support than it did in the early stages of the campaign. In a Texas Pulse survey conducted Sept. 11-14, Trump led with 26 percent, Carson was second with 19 percent, Cruz had 15 percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who dropped out of the race after a poor performance in South Carolina, had 9 percent.

[…]

In the Democratic primary, Clinton’s 40-point lead over Sanders in the Texas Pulse/Statesman survey is far greater than her advantage in other recent polls. A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll conducted Feb. 12-19 showed her with a 10-point lead, and a Public Policy Polling survey from Feb. 14-16 had her up by 23 points.

Thomas Graham, president and CEO of Crosswind, said the Pulse poll might be reflecting increased campaign activity by Clinton in the past few days. Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife in Laredo on Monday.

“Team Hillary has really invested in Texas,” Graham said. “There’s been a lot of activity from Hillary’s campaign just in the last couple of days, and I think we’re seeing a result of that.”

My original response to that was “maybe it’s an outlier”, but as you will see from the other results, if it is it’s only by a little. Full poll results are here, and you can see more about the other polls mentioned here and here. For what it’s worth, this poll sampled more Rs than Ds, 620 to 411, but that basically means a 4% margin of error for one and a 5% MOE for the other, so it’s not that big a deal. I do think this poll overstates Clinton’s lead, but it’s clear she has a lead, whereas the GOP side is a bit muddled.

Offering support to both of those statements are two more polls I found via Real Clear Politics. First is this SurveyUSA poll of Texas:

In his home state of Texas, US Senator Ted Cruz cannot shake businessman Donald Trump and his New York values, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for TEGNA Texas. Cruz’s best shot at a Super Tuesday win looks at this hour like he may do no better than a draw. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton defeats Bernie Sanders 2:1. In the Republican Primary, it’s Cruz 32%, Trump 32%, Marco Rubio 17%, others further back. Cruz narrowly leads Trump among Texas’s Hispanic/Latino population, 34% to 27%. Cruz materially leads Trump among Texas’s evangelicals, 42% to 28%. Cruz overwhelmingly leads Trump among those who are members of the Tea Party, 62% to 21%. Cruz leads by 11 points in West Texas, which includes El Paso, Midland and 88 surrounding counties, and by a nominal 3 points in East Texas, which includes Houston and 60 surrounding counties. Cruz leads by 20 points among “very conservative” primary voters. Cruz overpowers Trump among Texas Republican primary voters who in 2012 voted for Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich. Trump leads among voters who in 2012 backed Mitt Romney or Ron Paul. Trump leads by 16 points among “moderates” and by 14 points among non-evangelical voters. Trump leads in North Texas, which includes Dallas and 43 surrounding counties, and Trump leads among the least educated Republican primary voters. Trump leads among the most affluent Texans, but Cruz leads among middle-income primary voters. In Central TX, which includes Austin, San Antonio, and 28 surrounding counties, the two candidates run effectively even.

[…]

In the Democratic Primary, it’s Clinton 61%, Sanders 32%. Sanders is backed by 58% of the youngest voters, but Clinton is backed by 70% of middle-aged voters and 82% of seniors. Clinton leads Sanders 4:1 among black voters and Clinton leads Sanders by 40 points among Hispanic voters. Sanders draws near to Clinton, but still trails, among Democratic primary voters who say they are “falling behind” financially. But Clinton overpowers among voters who say they are “doing well” financially or “just getting by.” Of those Democratic primary voters who voted for Clinton in 2008, 86% stick with her in 2016. Among Democratic primary voters who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, Clinton leads Sanders 58% to 33%. Clinton polls at or above 60% in North TX, East TX, Central TX and South TX. Sanders comes close to Clinton in West TX, but still trails her there 48% to 42%.

SUSA does polling of “all adults”, then winnows it down to “likely voters” from there. You can see their data at the link above. Also via RCP is this Dixie Strategies poll:

The latest KTVT-CBS 11 / Dixie Strategies Poll of more than 1,400 likely primary voters in Texas shows Republican Ted Cruz has increased his lead over real estate mogul Donald Trump. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has maintained her lead over Senator Bernie Sanders — though that lead has shrunk a bit.

Looking at the statewide results — according to the poll taken Monday February 22 — Cruz now leads Trump by more than eight percentage points. At the end of January, Cruz was leading by five percentage points. More than 33% of likely GOP primary voters now say they would vote for Ted Cruz while 25% of respondents say they would vote for Trump.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio comes in third at about 15%. That’s almost 3% higher than his poll result back in January.

Dr. Ben Carson and Ohio Governor John Kasich are polling in single digits with Carson remaining largely unchanged at 6% while Kasich pulls ahead of Carson at 8%. That’s compared to 5% and 2% in January’s poll respectively.

[…]

Among likely Democrat primary voters in Texas, Senator Sander’s support has doubled but Clinton maintained her large lead according to the poll numbers. Back in January, almost 16% said they would vote for him. That number now stands at 29%. Clinton still leads Sanders by a wide margin at 61% to 30%. But the gap has closed somewhat between the two candidates. Back in January, 34 points separated the two. That gap has closed to 31 points.

As noted, they did a January poll as well, though that result is no longer counted in the RCP average. Last but not least, coming it later in the day yesterday, is the Monmouth University poll.

Ted Cruz currently has the support of 38% of likely GOP primary voters in his home state of Texas. Donald Trump (23%) and Marco Rubio (21%) are battling it out for second place. They are trailed by Ben Carson (6%) and John Kasich (5%).

Cruz has more support among men (44%) than women (33%), while Rubio has more support among women (24%) than men (18%). Trump draws equally from male (22%) and female (23%) voters in the Lone Star State.

[…]

Texas allows early voting and 18% of those polled report having already cast their vote. Nearly half (44%) of these early voters checked Cruz’s name on their ballots. Another 30% of likely Republican voters say they are completely decided on their candidate choice before they head to the polls and 30% have a strong preference but are still open to considering other candidates. One-in-five either have only a slight preference (8%) or are really undecided (13%) just days before Tuesday’s election.

Cruz would maintain his double digit lead if the race was down to three candidates, earning 43% in a hypothetical match up against just Rubio (26%) and Trump (23%). He could potentially do even better (49%) if the race was against just Trump (28%) and Kasich (15%).

When Texas Republicans are asked if they would be okay with any of the five remaining candidates becoming the party’s nominee, half (50%) say yes and 7% are not sure. Nearly 3-in-10 (28%),
though, say they would be upset if Trump won the nomination. Around 1-in-10 or less say they would be upset if Cruz (12%), Kasich (12%), Rubio (8%), or Carson (6%) got the nod.

This is why I wish there were also some general election polling. I mean, just exactly how upset would those voters be? Enough to say they’re “undecided” in such a poll, or enough to say they’d vote for the Democrat? It’s one thing to have Hillary Clinton run varying amounts behind each of these three candidates but getting about the same level of support in each case, and it’s another to see her support jump six points when matched up against The Donald.

Hillary Clinton currently holds a substantial 64% to 30% lead over Bernie Sanders in the Texas Democratic primary. In 2008, Clinton narrowly beat Barack Obama in this state by a 51% to 47% margin.

Clinton currently enjoys solid leads among black (81% to 8%) and Latino (68% to 32%) voters, and also has an edge among white voters (54% to 40%). She has a sizable lead among women (75% to 19%) and a small lead among men (50% to 45%). She leads among voters age 50 and over (75% to 20%) and also leads among those under the age of 50 (52% to 42%) – a group that Sanders has done well with in past primaries. One factor that boosts Clinton’s support with all these groups is that nearly 6-in-10 likely Democratic voters in Texas describe themselves as politically moderate or conservative rather than liberal. Sanders tends to do better among liberals.

“Texas was good to Hillary Clinton eight years ago and she looks set to do even better this time around,” said Murray.

More than 3-in-4 Lone Star Democrats say that Clinton would do either an excellent (32%) or good (45%) job addressing the most important concerns of families like theirs. This compares to just over half who say the same about Sanders (22% excellent and 33% good).

One-in-five voters (21%) say they have already cast their ballots in the Democratic primary and another 41% say they have completely decided on their candidate choice. A slightly higher number of Clinton voters say they have already voted (24%) or their choice is locked in (44%) when compared to Sanders supporters (18% already voted and 41% completely decided). Another 19% of Democrats have a strong preference but are still open to considering other candidates and 7% have only a slight preference, while 12% say they are still really undecided.

These four results today have been very good for Clinton’s lead over Sanders in the RCP average, which now stands at 59.9 to 33.6. There are now seven polls counted in that – the four from today, the Emerson College and UT/Trib polls, and the multi-state PPP poll from right before early voting started. On the Republican side, the RCP average shows Cruz up on Trump 34.0 to 26.8, with Rubio at 18.2. And as we know by now, finishing third is a win for him. The GOP-only KUHF poll plus all of these others are included in the RCP average for the GOP. Whatever else you can say, you can no longer say there’s a dearth of data.

Two more primary poll results

First we have one from KUHF, though it’s just for the GOP race.

Not Ted Cruz

Not Ted Cruz

One week before Super Tuesday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz holds a 14-point lead in the Lone Star State, according to a poll released Wednesday by Houston Public Media and the University of Houston Hobby Center for Public Policy.

It suggests a decisive home state win for Cruz’s wavering campaign, though not the wide margin that experts had long said Cruz should expect. Still, it’s a wider lead than reported in another statewide poll released Tuesday.

The new poll, which contacted 415 likely Republican voters in Texas by phone, shows Cruz with 34.5 percent of the vote, Donald Trump with 20 and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with eight. Undecided voters made up 19 percent in the poll. The margin of error was 4.5 percent.

That means that Cruz will likely face off with Trump district-by-district. The Texas primary awards delegates to any candidates with more than 20 percent of votes in each of the state’s 31 Senate districts.

Here’s KUHF’s story, and their results are here. Not sure why you wouldn’t go ahead and do the Dem side as well, but I wasn’t the pollster and no one asked me. I suppose with the debate at UH, there was a branding opportunity. Trail Blazers has more.

Meanwhile, the Emerson College Polling Society also weighs in.

With less than a week until the Texas GOP presidential primary, Senator Ted Cruz is edging out his two chief rivals, with Cruz having 29% of the vote followed by Donald Trump at 28% and Marco Rubio at 25%, according to an Emerson College tracking poll released today. Ohio’s John Kasich is at 9%, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson comes in fifth, with 4%.

In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton holds a solid lead, 56% to 40%, over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. It appears the former Secretary of State is well positioned to notch a decisive win in the delegate-rich Lone Star State, which ranks third−behind California and New York−in the number of delegates up for grabs (252).

Clinton does well with women, who prefer her 62% to 36% over Sanders, and she holds her own with men, who favor her 48% to 46%. Although Sanders has a massive lead, 81% to 18%, among voters ages 18-34, Clinton dominates in the other age categories, holding a 73-point advantage among voters 55-74 and a 76-point edge with those 75 and over.

Of the three GOP leaders, Rubio is seen most positively, with 64% of likely GOP primary voters rating him favorably compared to 29% who view him unfavorably. Cruz’s rating is 56% favorable to 41% unfavorable. Of all the GOP candidates, Trump is the only one under water with a 45% favorable to 50% unfavorable opinion. Clinton (79% favorable to 20% unfavorable) and Sanders (68% to 27%) are both well regarded by likely Democratic primary voters.

Their full dataset is here, in Excel format. One thing I observed about the KUHF result – I did not take the time to browse through the ECPS file – was that a significant number of respondents had already voted. I suppose if you’re going to do a poll this late in the day, that is to be expected. Not sure if that will skew the result or make it more accurate – I could see an argument either way. As it happens, I got called to take a Monmouth poll last night, so we may yet see another result before Tuesday. Thanks to Paradise in Hell for the link.

UT/Trib poll: Clinton and Cruz lead in Texas

I’d been wondering when we were going to get a fresh poll for the Texas primary races.

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Bernie Sanders has narrowed considerably in Texas but remains in the double digits among the state’s likely Democratic primary voters, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

The former secretary of state is leading, with 54 percent, a week before the Texas primary, while Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, has the support of 44 percent of the respondents.

Texas voters have six other choices on the Democratic presidential primary ballot: Martin O’Malley, Roque “Rocky” de la Fuente, Willie Wilson, Star Locke, Keith Judd and Calvis Hawes. None attracted significant support from the poll’s respondents.

“This race is narrowing, but not narrowing in a way for the lines to actually cross — especially in Texas,” said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin and the poll’s co-director. Clinton will win, he said, but the question mark, is the state’s Hispanic voters and their relatively low propensity to vote. “This will be a double-digit race, but I don’t think it’s going to be a 20-point race.”

Clinton has a formidable base of black and Hispanic voters, while Sanders is doing better with Anglos. She leads 70 percent to 27 percent among black voters and 60 percent to 37 percent among Hispanic voters. Sanders, meanwhile, has the support of 55 percent of white voters to Clinton’s 44 percent. Clinton’s advantage, the pollsters said, could swell if her campaign can boost the numbers of Hispanics voting in the state.

“It’s her state to lose,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. “Whether this race is 10 points or 18 points rests almost entirely on your opinion of whether Hispanics are going to turn up to vote.”

Poll results are here. In October. the Trib had Clinton up 61-30, and last June it was 53-15. Trib polls are what they are, and as we know from March of 2014, their primary polling can be a bit iffy, but nothing here strikes me as odd. You can look at Clinton’s support as being lower than it was three months ago, or you can look at it as being stable over the longer term. Sanders, meanwhile, has grown consistently but still can’t quite break out. Turnout is good but not overwhelming, which is consistent with what we have seen in other states and as Steve Benen has noted kind of undercuts Sanders’ claims about activating a huge wave of less-engaged voters. But it’s still early enough here that things can change, and both candidates will be working their ground games, so don’t carve anything into stone.

Meanwhile, in that other primary:

With a week remaining before the Texas Republican primary, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has an 8-percentage-point lead over Donald Trump, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Cruz had 37 percent of the vote in the poll. Trump, the businessman and TV personality who finished first in two of the three states that have already voted, had the support of 29 percent, followed by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio at 15 percent.

The rest of the candidates were far behind: Jeb Bush, who dropped out of the race after the South Carolina primary, had 6 percent; John Kasich, 5 percent; and Ben Carson, 4 percent. The rest of the candidates on the Texas Republican ballot barely registered: Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Elizabeth Gray, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie each got 2 percent or less. Several of those candidates have already suspended their campaigns but were included in the poll because all of their names remain on the Texas ballot.

“These numbers reflect what most of us think was going on in Texas: It’s decent ground for Donald Trump because he’s a national candidate who’s touched a nerve everywhere, but it displays a little bit of a homefield advantage for Ted Cruz,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.

What looked like a three-candidate race coming out of South Carolina looks more like a two-person race in Texas, with Cruz and Trump almost certainly in position to split the state’s 155 Republican delegates. Among likely Republican primary voters who identify with the Tea Party, Cruz leads Trump 56 percent to 26 percent in the UT/TT Poll. Among voters who identify as Republicans when given the choice to bolt for the Tea Party, the candidates were relatively even: Cruz had 32 percent to Trump’s 30 percent. Rubio had 18 percent of those voters, and 8 percent of those who identify with the Tea Party.

Cruz and Trump were tied with 27 each in October, and Cruz had 20 while Trump was still a non-entity in June, back when the likes of Rick Perry and Scott Walker still roamed the earth. The RCP average for Texas closely mirrors this result, not too surprising given the overall paucity of polling.

I confess, I had hoped there would be general election matchups included in this poll. You’d only need to test six combinations, which is well within most polls’ capabilities. Perhaps they did do that and are rolling out their full set of numbers over the week. I hope that’s the case, but we’ll see. Regardless, some more primary polling would be nice as well. PDiddie and Stace have more.

Time for the Presidential campaigns to focus on Texas

It’s our turn in the spotlight.

Will not be on the ballot

Will not be on the ballot

After spending millions to gain attention and a relative handful of delegates in the first four primary and caucus states, presidential candidates will now train their sights on Super Tuesday and the mother lode of Texas delegates that could help clinch the nominations.

Texas is the richest prize on March 1, when partisan primaries or caucuses are held in 13 states and American Samoa. At stake will be 661 GOP delegates, with 155 in Texas, and 1,107 Democratic delegates, including 252 in Texas. When voting ends that day, more than half of the delegates needed for the nomination in each party will have been awarded.

“In terms of bragging rights, all eyes will be on Texas March 1,” political scientist Mark Jones of Rice University said.

With early voting already under way, candidates are starting to show up at Texas events.

Hillary Clinton visited Houston late Saturday, and Bill Clinton will stump at campuses in Laredo and Dallas on Monday. On Thursday, the dwindling field of Republicans gathers in Houston for another crucial debate.

[…]

The ground wars being waged by the two Democratic contenders are starkly different. Hillary Clinton, with a legion of loyal friends and significant financial resources, is conducting a conventional campaign that relies heavily on her established Texas ties, including those with Housing Secretary Julián Castro and his twin, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio.

Sanders, meanwhile, is backed largely by volunteers with low-cost tactics such as hand-painting campaign signs and a reliance on social media. Sanders supporters will hold a national day of action for the candidate Saturday.

Polls give Clinton a substantial lead in Texas, but Robert Feria, coordinator for the San Antonio group SA4Sanders, voiced optimism about Sanders’ chances. “The bottom line is once people ‘feel the Bern,’ they don’t turn back,” he said.

“Polls” is an overstatement. According to Real Clear Politics, there have been exactly two Democratic primary polls of Texas conducted in 2016. There was a Dixie Strategies poll (whoever they are) done January 25 and 26 that gave Clinton a 50-16 lead, and a PPP poll from February 14-16 that had Clinton up 57-34. That latter result was one of a dozen that PPP released, all for so-called Super Tuesday states. That’s it so far. I had figured there would at least be a UT/Trib poll by now.

On Friday, Clinton’s campaign uncorked its first TV ad for Texas, and the Sanders campaign has bought a small slice of airtime for ads in Wichita Falls. That leaves the likely scenario of presidential candidates deluging the state’s airwaves almost exclusively during the final week before the primary.

So far the only TV ads I’ve seen have been for Gene Green. That will change this week, but not by very much, and at this time not in the Houston area. Which feels a little weird, but I’m not complaining. The Trib and the Press have more.

Mary Beth Rogers’ prescription for Texas Democrats

I’m sure you’ve seen this article by Mary Beth Rogers, onetime campaign manager for Ann Richards, about how Democrats can compete and win statewide again.

DEAR TEXAS DEMOCRATS…

First, let’s get the numbers out of the way. Let’s use the analytics as a backdrop for all that we do, but not as the only factor to consider.

If we don’t get the numbers right, we don’t have a chance to win on any other front.

This is what we know: We have to begin winning at least 35 percent of the white vote statewide to be competitive. That’s a big jump from the 25 percent that Wendy Davis got in 2014. I believe it is doable. If we are lucky — and luck will obviously play a part in all that we do — the 2016 presidential election might help us along. If we presume that Hillary Clinton, or some other relatively appealing Democratic presidential nominee, campaigns on issues that matter to centrist voters, it might be possible to draw up to 30 percent of the white vote in Texas. If that were to happen, then the margin for Republicans over Democrats could dip into the single digits, say, a seven or eight-point advantage. These numbers would not be impossible to overcome in future elections.

Although Barack Obama lost Texas in 2008 and 2012, he carried the African American vote by 98 percent. He got a paltry 26 percent of the white vote. If he had managed to win more than 30 percent of the white vote, as he did in Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina, and if he had invested heavily in a GOTV effort as he did in those states, he might have won Texas too. Hard to believe, isn’t it? If the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate attracts more white Texas voters than Obama did, Democrats would have a larger pool to begin wooing for the 2018 statewide campaigns. There are a lot of “ifs” here, I admit. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that white voters make up about two-thirds of the total electorate in off-year elections, and no Democrat since Ann Richards in the 1990s has succeeded in reaching them.

We Democrats still have to increase our vote totals among our base. That means reaching the 65 percent threshold with Hispanic voters, keeping 95 percent of African American voters, and winning Asian, millennial, and new urban voters who are more in tune with the values and issues of the Democratic Party than with the crazy extremists who hold power in Texas today. So if we can pump up the raw numbers among our solid base of Democratic voters (who can be easily identified after the 2016 presidential election), these are the percentages we need to reach in 2018:

Hispanics — 65 percent
African Americans — 95 percent
Anglos — 35 percent

This is not big news to anyone who studies Texas politics. The larger issue is how to do it. That’s always the rub — not what, but how. Here are ten ways to begin.

Read the whole thing, or buy the book if you really want to dig in. There’s nothing she says in the linked piece that I disagree with – I don’t think anyone would disagree with much of it. How to accomplish some of the things she describes will be easier to discuss than to do, and I’m sure there will be plenty of disagreement about who The Right Leader is/will be, but as a roadmap you could do far worse, and we have to start somewhere. So let’s agree that this is as good a place as any and go from there.

It’s that target of getting 35% of the white vote that is both enticing and elusive that I want to focus on. There will come a day when the non-Anglo portion of the electorate is big enough that we won’t need to worry as much about that number, but that day is not today. Rogers’ implicit distribution of the electorate is 62% Anglo, 26% Hispanic, and 12% African-American; do the math, and her targets above get you to exactly 50% of the vote. You can actually get away with a bit less than that, given the presence of third party candidates, but let’s run with that for now. This is a reasonable if an eensy bit optimistic view of the actual electorate. Looking back at a couple of 2014 polls, YouGov weighted their sample to be 65% Anglo, 19% Hispanic, 12% Af-Am, and 4% “other”, which Lord knows what that actually is. The UT/Trib sample was 63% Anglo, 18% Hispanic, 13% Af-Am, 1% Asian, and 2% multi-racial. Like I said, a bit optimistic but not out of the ballpark, and Dems are going to need to improve their base turnout anyway to be in the orbit of a winning scenario, so this is good enough for our purposes.

So how do we get to 35% of the Anglo vote? That’s the jackpot question. The good news is that there are likely to be multiple paths to this, and all of the things Rogers suggests ought to help a little. The bad news is that no two people are likely to agree on what should be prioritized to get there. Infrastructure, education, the war on women, economic populism, all of the above and then some – who knows? That’s above my pay grade. To some extent, none of it may matter much if the Texas economy is in the dumps in 2018 and enough voters decide to take out their frustrations on the people in charge. That’s a bigger factor in national elections than anyone wants to admit, so why not in a Governor’s race? If we have the right candidate, I feel confident we’ll have the right message.

We’ve got a Presidential election to get through first, and while no one expects Texas to be in play this year, some kind of improvement over 2012 would be nice. Rogers talks about how Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders might improve on President Obama’s performance with white voters. I can see that happening at the margins, but not more than a point or two, and I suspect anyone like that is probably not a solid D voter downballot, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. To whatever extent Clinton or Sanders can persuade a Romney/McCain voter to abandon ship, I’ll leave that to them. The real potential for gain in 2016 is increased turnout. As I’ve noted before, the GOP has plateaued at about 4.5 million Presidential year voters. Dems had a big jump from 2004 to 2008, then slid back from 3.5 million to 3.3 million in 2012. I’m not going to speculate how the Presidential race might affect things in Texas this year, but there’s room for growth just based on the natural increase in total voters:


Year   Voting age pop   Reg voters  Pct reg
===========================================
2008       17,735,442   13,575,062   76.54%
2012       18,279,737   13,646,226   74.65%
2015       19,110,272   13,988,920   73.20%

We’ll get new numbers for 2016 after the primary, but they’re unlikely to be that much different so we’ll stick with the 2015 figures. In 2008, turnout was 8,077,795, or 59.50%, while in 2012 turnout was 7,993,851, or 58.58%. Surely we can do better than that, but let’s aim modestly for now. If turnout in 2016 is at 2008 levels, then 8,323,407 people will vote. (If it’s at 2012 levels, that number will be 8,194,709.) Let’s further assume that the Republican total is what it was in 2012, which is to say 4,569,843 voters. If so, then there will be 3,753,564 other voters, which is 45.1%. Some number of those people would be voting Libertarian or Green, but my point here is to give us something to strive for. Can we get to 3.7 million Dem voters this year? How about 3.8 million? That’s not even 10% growth from 2008, and it’s a long way from a win, but it would be a big step forward, and could get the Republican margin of victory under ten points. I don’t know about you, but I think that might change the narrative a bit and give us a boost going into 2018.

I realize I’m indulging in a bit of fantasy here. There’s no reason why any of this has to happen, but by the same token there’s no reason why any of it can’t happen. The original purpose of Battleground Texas was to build Democratic turnout in Presidential years. Whether they’re still working on this or not, some of that task should be reasonably easy based on population growth. I’d like to think the Presidential campaign will at least offer a little help – leaving their paid staffers in place after the primary would be a start, and more than we got in 2008. I hope someone is thinking about this.

Nothing says “holiday season” like immigration raids

How festive.

Immigration agents are planning to round up Central American families that have been ordered deported by a judge in response to an unexpected surge in children and families crossing the border in South Texas, a former high-ranking immigration official said Thursday.

Alonzo Peña, the deputy director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2009 and 2010, said officials are concerned because the number of families crossing the border usually slows down this time of year, yet Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley have seen an increase in recent months.

The Border Patrol apprehended about 50,000 children and families in 2015 in the Rio Grande Valley, down from about 100,000 in 2014, but the number of apprehensions has spiked since September, according to Border Patrol statistics.

“The numbers for this time of year, normally they drop, and they’re continuing to surge and increase,” Peña said. “They’ve got to figure out ways to send a message that the gates are not open, the doors are not open and it’s not a free pass. And they’re concentrating on those that have final orders, who have exhausted their due process.”

ICE regularly conducts what it calls targeted enforcement operations, in which agents round up immigrants who fall under the agency’s priorities for deportation, including those who recently crossed the border, those convicted of crimes and those who have been ordered removed by an immigration judge. This would be the first such operation specifically targeting families.

News of the planned raids, first published by the Washington Post, which reported they would likely happen in January but hadn’t received final approval, drew criticism from activists. Hundreds of immigrants might be targeted, the newspaper reported.

“Such a roundup would be a nightmare for those families and for our claim to being a nation of refuge,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the immigration advocacy group America’s Voice, said in a written statement.

Here’s that WaPo story. Some of this may sound reasonable, but ICE’s track record is lousy, and the so-called “family detention centers” we use are horrible, for-profit jails being used to warehouse children. And not to be crass about it, but the politics of this are awful for Democratic Presidential candidates trying to draw clear distinctions between themselves and the deport-em-all GOP frontrunners. This is a bad idea, and we really need to rethink what we are doing here. ThinkProgress and TPM have more.

More HERO public information requests

The bullying continues.

He’s a bully!

Does President Barack Obama regularly drop a line to Houston City Council members?

Probably not, but we could soon find out, thanks to a public records request that opponents of the city’s equal rights ordinance, known as HERO, filed this week. It’s a response to a public records request that a nonprofit filed earlier this month seeking correspondence between members that voted down the city’s equal rights ordinance and national anti-LGBT groups.

At the time, Councilman Michael Kubosh called a press conference to denounce the request, saying he was particularly upset that just the six council members that voted against the law, not the full council, were subject to the request. He called it “bullying.”

A week later, however, HERO opponents have taken the same approach. In a request filed Wednesday, conservative lawyer Jared Woodfill sought all communication between pro-HERO council members and a slew of local and national figures and groups, most pro-LGBT.

Fourth on the list, sandwiched between Mayor Annise Parker and the Human Rights Campaign, is Obama. Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders along with mayor-elect Sylvester Turner are also included.

See here for the background. I’m sure CMs Kubosh and Martin will be holding a press conference to denounce this bit of bullying any minute now. Or maybe we’ve all managed to get a grip and recognize that this is just normal politics and nothing to get upset about. Regardless, I expect this request to have about the same effect as the other one, which is to say, not much. But at least everyone will have gotten it out of their system.

UT/TT primary poll: Hillary leads the Dems, Trump and Cruz lead the GOP

For those who care about this sort of thing.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and businessman Donald Trump are in a dead heat for the Republican presidential nomination in Texas, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

With four months to go before the March 1 primary, each had the support of 27 percent of likely Republican voters. Surgeon Ben Carson and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida were well back of the leaders at 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the first choice of 61 percent of Texas Democrats, building on her earlier support in the state and remaining well ahead of her rivals, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. Sanders, running second, has been unable to change the fundamental dynamics of a primary where Clinton has the political advantage, as Barack Obama did in 2008.

“I just don’t see any signs of weakness,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.

[…]

The numbers have shifted some since the previous UT/TT survey in June — a poll conducted when a number of official and unofficial exploratory campaigns were still underway.

Clinton led the Democratic field in the June UT/TT Poll with 53 percent support. Sanders’ numbers increased in the current poll, too, in part because two prospective candidates included in that survey — Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — decided not to run.

The two leading Republican candidates in the latest survey — especially Trump — scooped up support that in June was going to two candidates who have since left the race: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Cruz had 20 percent in that June poll; Trump was back in the dust at 2 percent.

“The summer of Trump had not started when we did the last poll,” Henson said. “He was not really in the race.”

The poll summary is here. Take it for whatever you think it’s worth. I’ve ragged on this poll many times – they wound up being pretty accurate last November, but they sucked rocks in the March primary. I think their Dem sample is likely to be reasonably on target, though there’s still some time for Bernie Sanders to move the needle with his in-state campaign. The GOP side, I have to believe that will continue to be volatile and unpredictable. Who knows if Trump and/or Carson will even still be in the race by the time the primary happens? I suppose for that reason it made no sense to try out any potential November matchups, but it still would have been fun to see Hillary/Trump and Sanders/Carson and whatever else you might want to try. For entertainment purposes only, of course, but it would be entertaining.

Sanders to open Texas campaign office

Good.

Sen. Bernie Sanders

The presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is expanding its footprint in Texas, setting up a statewide office and expanding its staff with just under four months until the Democratic primary.

In the next few days, the campaign plans to open a Texas headquarters in Austin — among the first known outposts of a presidential campaign in the state besides that of native U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. The office will be located on the city’s east side.

The campaign’s Texas effort is being overseen by Jacob Limón, a legislative staffer and former official at the state Democratic Party. Limón, who was recently named Sanders’ Texas state director, is being joined by six other paid staffers in the state: David Sanchez, North Texas director; Cristina Garcia, Rio Grande Valley director; Theresa Haas, Houston director; Samantha Davis, operations director; Ananda Tomas, San Antonio director; and Sergio Feliciano Cantú, Latino outreach director.

Sanders supporters were introduced to the Texas staff during a meeting Tuesday night in Austin, where they were given a goal of 850,000 phone calls over the next three weeks to identify more Sanders backers. Zack Exley, a senior adviser to the Sanders digital team in Vermont, told the nearly 200 people who showed up to the meeting that they will have to go above and beyond to help him win the March 1 primary in Texas.

[…]

Early, scant polling has found Sanders badly trailing Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in Texas, where her involvement in state politics dates back to the 1970s. The former secretary of state has not neglected Texas in her second bid for the White House, holding two campaign events in the state — her next one is set for Tuesday in Dallas — as well as several fundraisers. She has also locked up the support of well over a majority of Texas Democrats who serve in the state Legislature and Congress.

While presidential candidates have been paying more attention than usual to Texas due to its relatively early primary, few have opened offices in the state beyond Cruz, whose campaign is based in Houston.

Good for Sen. Sanders. I don’t claim to be on Team Bernie, but I approve of what he’s doing here. Hillary Clinton’s campaign has had some presence in Texas for a few months – and for what it’s worth, I get a ton of email from her campaign, and have yet to hear anything from Sanders’, not that I’m asking for more email in my inbox – but nothing compares to boots on the ground. Along those lines, I trust that Sen. Sanders will follow Clinton’s example and make his data available to the TDP and county parties once the primary is over. In the meantime, I wish his campaign the best of luck.

Bring back postal banking

I still like this idea.

Postal unions and civil rights groups are among other advocacy organizations, along with the U.S. Postal Service inspector general, pushing USPS to expand into banking. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential hopeful, agrees. But USPS, which could use the business, has no interest.

Providing financial services in post offices “could benefit the 68 million underserved Americans who either do not have a bank account or rely on expensive services like payday lending and check cashing,” says an inspector general report issued in May. “The products also could help the Postal Service generate new revenue to continue providing universal service. Because it has a presence in every neighborhood, including many places where there are no longer any bank branches, the Postal Service is well suited to provide such services. In addition, its well-trained workforce is already experienced at handling complex transactions and watching out for related fraud and other risks.”

The push for postal banking received a boost this month with an article by Mehrsa Baradaran in The Atlantic. Baradaran, a University of Georgia School of Law associate professor, advocates a “central bank for the poor,” as an alternative to “the unscrupulous practices of payday lenders.”

Postal banking, she wrote, could provide short-term loans and “potentially drive out the usurious fringe-lending sector, which profits from Americans’ financial woes.” Her article was adapted from her book “How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy.”

USPS officials regularly trumpet what they are doing to improve the Postal Service’s financial situation, including such things as selling greeting cards. But the officials have rejected postal banking.

“While we currently provide our customers with certain financial services, including money orders, electronic funds transfers, and cashing of U.S. Treasury checks, our core function is not banking,” said David A. Partenheimer, a USPS spokesman. Former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe was more emphatic during his farewell press conference in January. “The key thing for any successful business is to work within their core,” he said. “We don’t know anything about banking.”

They must have forgotten.

Postal banking, known as the Postal Savings System, began operation in 1911 and officially ended in 1967, though the Post Office stopped accepting deposits a year earlier. Initially, savings earned 2.5 percent interest with a half-percent designated for operation of the system, according to a postal service history. “Although bankers first viewed the Postal Savings System as competition,” the history says, “they later were convinced that the Postal Savings System brought a considerable amount of money out of hiding from mattresses and cookie jars.” Most of the money was redeposited in local banks. The Postal Savings System, however, did not include lending, according to Mehrsa.

I’ve covered this before, and continue to be convinced that it makes sense. That Inspector general report quote above is a big part of it, but just having convenient access to their money without having to pay exorbitant fees or be at the mercy of the failings of unregulated “entrepreneurs” would be a huge book for millions of working people. I truly don’t understand the USPS’s objections to this, given their own history. It would be good for their business as well as good for so many people. Keep up the pressure, y’all.

Amazon and Bernie

You have to admire the ingenuity.

Sen. Bernie Sanders

It turns out you can’t buy everything on Amazon.com after all.

The online retail giant is quashing an effort by a Texas teenager to use the company’s website to funnel cash into his newly formed pro-Bernie Sanders super PAC.

The Bern2016 super PAC was officially launched [last] week by 15-year-old Sebastian Burnham of Austin — a high school senior who cannot yet vote for his preferred candidate but is legally allowed to create a super PAC to advocate on Sanders’ behalf.

Super PACs can raise unlimited sums of money to advocate for or against federal politicians, although they cannot coordinate their spending with candidates. Conversely, the candidates themselves have virtually no control over these independent efforts.

Burnham, an active blogger who plans to study political science in college, says he wants to focus on raising money from grassroots givers — as Sanders himself has — and he thought he had developed a novel plan to do so.

Until recently, Burnham’s group stated on its website — ProgressivesForBernie.com — that pro-Sanders shoppers could use a specialized Amazon.com link to donate to the super PAC “for free.”

The idea was to have a percentage of every purchase made by users who were referred there by Bern2016 benefit the super PAC.

But Amazon.com isn’t on board.

“It has come to our attention that you are not in compliance with the Associates Program Operating Agreement,” Amazon.com wrote in an email to Burnham after questions from the Center for Public Integrity. “If you are not in compliance within five business days, we will be forced to terminate the Operating Agreement, close your Associates account and withhold advertising fees.”

In an emailed statement, Amazon.com spokesman Tom Cook said the company takes “the appropriate action” when it becomes “aware that an organization or company has violated the operating agreement.”

Burnham called the company’s decision a “setback” for his super PAC, adding that he had removed the specialized Amazon.com link but would continue searching for other similar programs that could be used.

Gotta admit, this wouldn’t have occurred to me. I honestly don’t know how much one might be able to raise via this mechanism – among other things, I’d think that the universe of avid Sanders supporters contains a non-trivial number of people who are repelled by Amazon’s labor practices – but if you get past the questionable legality and the apparent resistance by Amazon, it’s pretty ingenious. Too bad we won’t get a chance to see how it might have worked in practice.

2015 Lyceum poll, day two

Once again, here’s the press release:

An independent poll conducted by the Texas Lyceum, a non-partisan, nonprofit statewide leadership group, shows billionaire real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump leading U.S. Senator Ted Cruz by five points (21 percent-16 percent) in Texas in the 2016 Republican Presidential nominating contest. The survey also shows former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a substantial lead in the Democratic primary, but trailing in a November 2016 general election among Texas voters.

“We are proud to publicly share the results of our ninth Texas Lyceum Poll with Texas’ policymakers, scholars and citizens,” said 2015 Lyceum President Jane Cummins. “We included a diverse set of questions ranging from U.S. presidential contenders to a variety of issues facing our state. We will continue to use the poll as a foundation for discussion at our annual public conferences and quarterly meetings, and readily share these valuable data to inform public policy discussions in Texas.”

Trump’s support in the Lyceum Poll remains consistent with national polls across most age groups: including those 65 and older, 45 to 64, and 30 to 44, only trailing retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson by one point (22 percent to 21 percent) among potential Republican Primary voters under the age of 29.

Due to the large field of candidates, the Lyceum poll asked, “who would be your second choice” for president? This question revealed that 37 percent of Trump’s voters would support Ted Cruz, followed by 24 percent for Carson.

On the Democratic side, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads the Democratic field with 36 percent of the vote followed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (24 percent), Vice President Joe Biden (15 percent), and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb (2 percent).

Looking ahead to the November 2016 general election in Texas, Clinton trails Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump by eight, seven, and two points, respectively. However, she is ahead of Florida Senator Marco Rubio by seven points

“Mrs. Clinton actually polls better in Texas right now than one might have expected,” said Prof. Daron Shaw, who oversees the Lyceum Poll along with Lyceum Research Director, Joshua Blank. “But this is primarily due to her greater name recognition and the divisiveness of the GOP contest at this early stage.”

Texas and National Economy

Despite a declining state unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, down from 4.8 percent this time last year, Texans see the economy as stagnant compared to a year ago. Looking to the national economy, Texans’ attitudes are mixed. A plurality believes we are worse off than last year (34 percent), but an almost equal proportion (31 percent) says that the national economy has improved.

Job Approval

In the poll, which was conducted September 8 – 21, 56 percent of likely voters approve of the job Governor Abbott is doing. Meanwhile, the poll shows a slight bump (eight percent) in approval ratings for President Obama compared to last year’s Lyceum poll. A majority of respondents, 52 percent, indicated that President Obama is either doing a “very good” or “somewhat good” job as president, compared with 44 percent who indicated that the president is doing either a “somewhat poor” or “very poor” job.

Here is the Executive Summary, and here are the poll results, which you can compare to the Texas Pulse poll from last week. If you look at the data, you may note that President Obama has a shockingly good approval rating – 52% positive, which stands in stark contrast to the Texas Pule number of 41% approval. In response to my question, pollster Daron Shaw noted that this is a sample of adults, so it is fairly heavily non-Anglo, and thus more favorable for Obama than a likely-voter or even a registered-voter sample would be. Those of you out there that like to say that Texas isn’t a Republican state so much as it is a non-voting state may feel a little smug now. Not that it changes anything in the here and now, of course.

Let’s take a closer look at those November matchup numbers:

Candidates RVs LVs ======================= Jeb! 32 35 Clinton 27 27 HTMUAI 41 39 Cruz 31 39 Clinton 31 32 HTMUAI 37 29 Rubio 22 27 Clinton 32 34 HTMUAI 44 40 Trump 33 39 Clinton 38 37 HTMUAI 29 25

“HTMUAI” = “Haven’t thought much about it”, which is the “don’t know/no opinion” answer for this poll. The large values for that answer is what you’d expect for this early in the cycle, and as such I wouldn’t make too much of any individual contest. Rubio is the least known – if he does turn out to be the nominee, you can expect his higher profile and normal partisan affiliation will make up the gap. Hard to say if Clinton draws actual crossovers from Trump or if that pairing just gets more people off the fence. File it away for later and see what movement we get once the dust starts to settle in the GOP race.

As for the primary results, there’s nothing here to suggest Hillary Clinton has anything to fear in Texas; the Pulse poll says the same thing. We are of course six months out from said primary, and anything can happen – if Sanders takes the lead nationally and/or starts racking up states, you can be sure the numbers here would reflect that. On the GOP side, one presumes Ted Cruz would prosper if Trump drops out. I can’t help but feel that Cruz has a hard ceiling, sort of like Trump does. It’s hard to be that universally loathed and not have some limits on one’s potential. Again, we’ll know more once that field has been winnowed a bit. What do you make of these numbers?

Texas Pulse Poll

Hey look! Someone polled Texas.

A statewide poll of Texas likely voters finds that immigration and the economy are the top issues of concern for residents of the Lone Star State. The poll also found that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton lead the Republican and Democratic primaries. Barack Obama is viewed unfavorably by a majority of Texans. Gov. Greg Abbott is seen favorably, and Sen. Ted Cruz has a more mixed favorability rating.

The Texas Pulse, a periodic survey of Texans’ opinions on a variety of cultural, economic and political issues, was conducted by Crosswind Media & Public Relations from Sep. 11-14, using a survey of 1,000 Texans. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points. A 2014 Texas Pulse survey was recognized by the Houston Chronicle as the most accurate poll in the governor’s race.

In a survey of 452 likely Democratic voters, Clinton leads Democrat Bernie Sanders 53 percent to 21 percent, with Sen. Joe Biden, who has not announced for president, in third with 14 percent in a hypothetical matchup.

“Despite some challenges, the Clinton name is still gold among Texas Democrats,” said Thomas Graham, Crosswind president and CEO. “Hillary’s support remains solid, particularly among minorities and women. While Sanders fares well among white and younger voters relative to his overall numbers, Hillary Clinton still beats him 2-1 in even these categories.”

Clinton even beats Sanders 52 percent to 31 percent among voters identifying themselves as liberal. The former secretary of state does best among African-Americans, with almost two thirds (65%) supporting her. Sanders’ only lead in any category is among voters identifying their ethnicity as “other.” This is a relatively small sample, however.

On the Republican side, as Crosswind announced last week, Donald Trump leads the field with 26 percent, followed by Ben Carson at 19 percent. Texas’ own Senator Ted Cruz is third with 15 percent, and Jeb Bush is fourth with 9 percent.

You can go here to add yourself to their mailing list enter your information to see the full poll information. Honestly, it doesn’t have that much – you will be shocked to know that Republicans like Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz but hate President Obama and Obamacare, while Democrats love the President and Obamacare but can’t stand Abbott or Cruz. There’s a bit more nuance than that, so go get yourself the full poll if you want to know the full details plus some other things. On the GOP primary side, that link above in this paragraph has a pie chart of the full field. Pre-dropout Rick Perry got 3% and Scott Walker got 2%, while pre-CNN debate Carly Fiorina was at 3%. Such are the perils of waiting to release poll data. I would have loved to have seen some potential November matchups, but no dice. There’s also some issues polling – Republicans continue to be obsessed with immigration and “border security” (a full 50% had it as their top issue), while Dems are interested in a broader range of things. The press release linked at the top has some of those numbers, though oddly they disagree with what’s on the full poll page – the release says “Among Republicans, the economy is second (18%) and taxes and spending third (15%)”, but the chart on the poll page shows “economy and jobs” at 15% and “taxes and spending” at 11%. Go figure.

Anyway, much of this is for entertainment value only at this stage. You can be sure it will be different in February, even if neither field is much smaller. The Texas Lyceum will be releasing the results of its 2015 Issues and Elections poll next Wednesday the 30th, so we’ll see how these two compare.

What about Bernie?

Hillary Clinton has some company in the Democratic primary for President.

Sen. Bernie Sanders

There’s one question Democrats face as they head into the 2016 presidential election. How should they feel about Hillary Clinton? The coalition Barack Obama built happily came out to vote in his two presidential elections, but turnout was pathetic in 2010 and 2014 when he wasn’t on the ticket. Clinton’s ability to inherit that coalition is debatable.

Some of the party’s faithful just want to maximize their chances of taking a third consecutive term, and they think the Clintons’ careful and calculated brand of center-left politics is the thing to do it. Others are antsy. They’ve seen the GOP’s far right drag their party to them with great success, and they want someone to subject Clinton to the same type of pressures. But they need a candidate. Elizabeth Warren has declined to run, and Martin O’Malley is a ball of ambition.

Enter U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Congress’ sole self-avowed socialist, who came through Texas at the beginning of April in the middle of a cross-country trip whose purpose, he said, was to judge the energies of the left and to raise money in anticipation of a possible primary run against Clinton. Sanders would be as unusual a candidate as we’ve seen in America for quite some time. He’s not quite a Dennis Kucinich or a Mike Gravel, but it’s not that he’s setting out to win either. His self-proclaimed models are people such as Jesse Jackson and Howard Dean, who ran and lost, but inspired future political activists.

Obama’s 2008 campaign, Sanders told the Observer at an Austin Tex-Mex restaurant, “will go down in history as one of the great campaigns ever run.” But, he continued, “the day after the election, he said, ‘Thank you for electing me, but I think I can go on from here without you. I do not need the millions of people who were actively involved in my campaign.’” The kind of change the left wants, he said, is not possible without “mass organized activity” of the kind that has not existed in the country in some five decades—the kind Sanders experienced as a young man in the civil rights, anti-war and kibbutz movements.

As he talks, he has the feel of a radical giving it one last college try. But his reception in Austin was decidedly warm. In addition to small venues—he spoke to a union hall—he gave the keynote at one of the Travis County Democratic Party’s main annual fundraisers. Outside, his communications director, a silver-haired former Chicago newspaperman who dimly recalls his last trip to Texas some decades ago, marvels at the previous day’s turnout: He calls it a “field of dreams” moment.

I’m happy to have him in the race. I fully expect to vote for Hillary Clinton, who in case you hadn’t noticed has been doing a pretty good job raising and discussing progressive issues lately, but competitive primaries are good, and a little extra pressure on Clinton’s left flank is fine by me. I also agree with Sen. Sanders about what happened post-2008; Clinton is talking a good game so far, but this will incentivize her to keep it up. Current polling suggests that this will not be a competitive contest, but it’s early days. Overall, I basically agree with what Ed Kilgore says. I look forward to hearing what both candidates, and any others that may join them, have to say.

UPDATE: A useful guide to what Sen. Sanders believes in.