Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

October 30th, 2005:

Zogby fills in the blanks

Following up on my post about the Zogby Interactive poll from last month, we now have a full report of all the matchups they surveyed, which fills in a couple of blanks from the report they made available to the Wall Street Journal Online. Two items in particular of note, starting with this one:

Governor Perry* (R) 40% Bell (D) 27% Friedman (I) 18% Perry* (R) 41% Sharp (D) 26% Friedman (I) 19% Strayhorn (R) 35% Bell (D) 26% Friedman (I) 17% Strayhorn (R) 32% Sharp (D) 26% Friedman (I) 18%

I believe this ought to put the final nail in the idea that only John Sharp could take out Rick Perry. Not that it matters, since Sharp now has other things on his plate, but as of last month at least, he was polling slightly worse than Chris Bell in this matchup. He does do a little better than Bell against Comptroller Strayhorn, but only because Strayhorn’s numbers dip slightly.

What this says to me is either that Sharp’s name ID isn’t appreciably better than Bell’s, or that being known to more people isn’t the asset for Sharp that one might have thought it would be. Whatever the case may be, I say it’s time to stop wasting time on what isn’t going to happen – and that includes the current wishcasting of Bill White announcing for Governor five minutes into his inaugural address as a second-term Mayor – and start focusing on what is. Rick Perry is polling at 40% of the vote, which is less than his combined opposition. This is a winnable race if Democrats can pull themselves together. It’s time to get going on that.

Item two is from the Senate race, where the published reports were all about various fantasy football matchups. Here’s how the real race compares to them:

Senator Hutchison* (R) 52% Radnofsky (D) 34% Hutchison* (R) 50% Kirk (D) 37% Hutchison* (R) 51% Sharp (D) 36% Hutchison* (R) 52% Watson (D) 36%

Barbara Radnofsky fares a little worse than the others against KBH, but not by much. All things considered, it’s about what I’d expect. She’s obviously got a lot of ground to make up, and she’ll have to chip away some of KBH’s current support, something which may be made easier by Hutchison herself and her recent penchant for stupid statements. That said, given KBH’s status as the Great Exalted Popular Moderate, I’m not displeased with her topping out at 52%. It’s still a mountain to climb, but at least it’s not K2.

So much for the bounce

Rick Perry’s approval numbers are back in their usual state of negativity after a one-month bounce from Hurricane Katrina, according to SurveyUSA. You can see the trendlines here. Basically, after recording September numbers of 49% approve/45% disapprove, October checks in at 43/52. That’s still his best approval number going back to at least May, but the disapproval number is also one point short of the highest it’s been. Compared to his peers, he’s 36th in approval total, and 39th in net approval.

The demographic splits yield some interesting data. Compared to September, when he was in net positive territory for just about every group, Perry has lost significant turf among Hispanics, independents, and (surprisingly) regular churchgoers. He’s actually doing worse among men than he is among women, which is something I’d frankly never expect to see – it was like that last month though it didn’t register with me, but in July he was doing slightly better with men. I might think it’s possible that since September he’s taking the brunt of some frustrations with the Hurricane Rita evacuation, except that he’s doing as well in Harris County as he was before – indeed, it’s one of the few places he’s still in net positive terrain. He’s a little worse off in East Texas (41/55 compared to 43/50), but not nearly enough to explain such an across-the-board decline. Without anything else to go on, I think people have simply gone back to feeling about him as they have been for awhile now.

I’ll keep an eye on these monthly checkups, as I’m sure Team Bell will, too. My guess is that if we see any motion in these numbers, it’ll be a further erosion – another special session on school finance would do the trick for that. We’ll see.

Endorsement watch: HISD

The Chron puts what I believe are the wraps on its endorsements for 2005 by giving its recommendations in the HISD trustee races, choosing Richard Cantu in HISD1 and challenger Daisy Maura in HISD9. They did the one contested HCC trustee race yesterday, endorsing Richard Schecter for Position 5. I still don’t know what happened to City Council District A, not to mention several ballot propositions, but who knows, maybe they’re still to come.

Today’s profile is on the Mayoral race, in which some interesting numbers get tossed about:

Some political analysts say he could exceed the re-election margin of former Mayor Bob Lanier, who won his second term in 1993 with 90.8 percent of the vote, at the time the highest percentage in nearly 60 years. Lanier, like White, was popular and faced little-known challengers.

“I predict White will break 92 percent,” said Dave Walden, who served as chief of staff to Lanier and campaign manager to White’s 2003 runoff opponent, Orlando Sanchez. “All the stars are aligned for him.”

He noted that Lanier was under constant criticism from then-Controller George Greanias, while White has mostly kept cordial relations with other city officials. “What I didn’t expect was White’s ability to move things through council as smoothly as he has,” Walden said.

Ninety-two percent is pretty audacious, even more than Greg‘s 90% guesstimate and my downright pessimistic-by-comparison suggestion that the floor starts at 75%. Let’s make a contest out of it: What do you think Bill White’s election day tally will be? Go all the way down to the hundredth of a percent so we can more easily break a tie if we have to. I’ll put myself down for 82%. Leave your guesses in the comments and we’ll see in ten days who’s the closest.

Ah, here I’ve finally found the right index page with all the race profiles and Chron endorsements – note to whoever from the Chron is reading this, it would be nice if the Politics index page had this link. They’ve written about Props 1, 2, 5, 7, and 9, endorsing all but 2. For the rest, plus City Council A, you’re on your own, at least so far.