Good news for Noriega

Good news – Rick Noriega was the winner of the PAC For A Change contest, which will bring him some much-appreciated fundraising help.

In just one week, over 25,000 PAC for a Change community members voted in our “Choose a Challenger” contest. We’re pleased to announce that Rick Noriega, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Texas, won the contest with 30% of the vote — narrowly edging out Al Franken, who finished second with 24%.

My thanks to everyone who participated – he certainly couldn’t have won without you.

Elsewhere, there’s another positive poll result, this one from the Texas Lyceum (PDF).

Republican John McCain would beat Democrat Barack Obama in Texas if the race were held now. But a significant number of Texans said they haven’t picked a favorite yet. Among likely voters, McCain had the support of 43% of those polled to 38% for Obama. Libertarian Bob Barr and independent Ralph Nader had about 1% each. One of every six voters — 17% — said they haven’t decided who will get their vote in November.

Freshman U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, leads Democratic challenger Rick Noriega in the poll, but the margin is slim and a large number of voters haven’t made up their minds. Cornyn had the support of 38% of the likely voters in the survey, to Noriega’s 36%, with 24% saying they’re not committed to either candidate.

Those are pretty good numbers, with a lot of growth potential. It’s shocking to imagine Republican statewide candidates polling so poorly, and it’s a little strange to see so many undecideds – I’d figure on “party ID” alone, the values would be higher.

Speaking of those party ID numbers, the reported totals are not what I’d expect:

We interviewed Texas adults during the June 12-20 period, talking to 1,000 adults, half of them male, half of them female. Eight out of ten said they are registered to vote.

The highly contested presidential contest apparently has Texans more tuned into politics than they were a year ago. Half identify themselves as voters in “every” or “almost every” election, and 85% consider themselves “extremely interested” or “somewhat interested” in politics and public affairs.

The respondents come from a variety of places, 42% suburban, 28% urban, and 27% rural. Most — 59% — are married, and 43% have one or more college degrees. Most — 54% — identify themselves as White; 32% as Hispanic; and 11% as African-American. The party splits are 32% Republican and 44% Democrat — but the ideological splits go the other way, with 42% calling themselves conservative, 34% saying they are moderate, and 19% identifying themselves as liberals.

I don’t know what to make of that. I’ve been arguing that the Baselice poll results have been overstating the Republican advantage, but I would not have claimed that said advantage had disappeared, let alone reversed itself. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that, yet the conservative/moderate/liberal splits seem right on. Maybe there’s just a whole lot of people who don’t call themselves Republicans any more, but still mostly vote like Republicans. Much as I’d like to believe this, I’ll need to see at least one confirming result before I put too much stock in it.

Interestingly, Burka mostly nods his head at this poll.

The presidential poll seems credible to me. In fact, McCain by six points is exactly the number that a prominent McCain booster told me recently he thought that the actual outcome would be. Noriega [trailing] by two is more problematic, but overall, these numbers, with the people who have made up their mind in both parties representing about three-fourths of the respondents and the rest being undecided, seem a lot more credible to me than the earlier polls that showed over 90% of the electorate committed (48%-44%).

He didn’t comment on the party or racial/ethnic splits, which is too bad. I’ll just say that a final result of McCain by six – that is, something like 53-47 – would put Obama comfortably above the bonanza line, and might well mean Democratic wins in places we’re not currently expecting. That makes his strategy for Texas, which we talked about at the TexBlog PAC event, loom even larger. BOR, Trail Blazers, and Texas Kaos have more.

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One Response to Good news for Noriega

  1. Greg Wythe says:

    If Burka buys a “McCain by 6” scenario* yet can’t understand how an Hispanic Democrat would run slightly better than that, he’s not as sharp of an analyst as he gives himself credit for.

    * – I feel obligated to point out that this is based on a Republican telling him so. Beyond typical of Burka, even if lunch wasn’t involved.

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