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Newt Gingrich

PPP’s April poll of Texas

Here’s Public Policy Polling’s latest snapshot of Texas heading into May and the primaries.

If Newt Gingrich was going to win a big victory anywhere between now and the Republican convention Texas would be a logical candidate…but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Mitt Romney leads the state with 45% to 35% for Newt Gingrich and 14% for Ron Paul.

Texas really shows the extent to which GOP voters have unified around Romney over the last few weeks. When we polled the state in January Republicans were evenly divided in their feelings about him with 44% rating him favorably and 44% giving him poor marks. Now his favorability is a +43 spread at 66/23. That’s very much indicative of people jumping on board the train.


Texas looks like it will remain Republican in the general election, although it might be closer than it was in 2008. Romney leads Obama by 7 points at 50-43. John McCain took the state by 13 points in 2008. Obama leads Romney 56-34 with Hispanics and 57-35 with young voters. This is not likely to be the year Texas goes Democratic, but the trends with those groups make it seem possible it will happen some day.

One thing that would make Obama more competitive in Texas is the- very, very off chance- that Rick Perry was on the ticket. In that case Romney’s advantage over Obama would be reduced from 50-43 to 50-45. Perry’s Presidential bid clearly did a lot of damage to his reputation. His approval rating has sunk into the 30s at 39%, with 53% of voters disapproving of him. With independents he’s even worse off at 30/62. We’ll have more on how Texans feel about Perry’s political future later in the week but it’s clear the hurt to his image from his failed campaign hasn’t dissipated yet.

I’m sure I’ll have something to say about those results as well. You can see PPP’s full data here. If you scroll down to page 9, which is where the general election matchup stuff starts, you will see that Perry’s approval rating in Texas is slightly worse than Obama’s; the President’s numbers are 42% approve and 52% disapprove. Oh, the humanity!

PPP’s April numbers are nearly identical to their January numbers, in which Romney and flavor-of-the-month Rick Santorum both led Obama by a 49-42 margin. It’s consistent with all other polling we’ve seen so far, with the exception of that UT/Trib poll from the time of Santorum’s surge, and that’s only if you apply their strange “likely voter” filter. I figure we’ll get another set of their numbers soon, perhaps before the May 29 election date, so we’ll see how they compare. While I’m sure PPP did not include Santorum as an option for poll responders since he’s suspended his campaign, he will be on the ballot. I think the effect of not mentioning him likely overstates Gingrich’s support, but it would not surprise me if Romney’s numbers dipped a bit as well. Interesting that even with the consolidation of support Romney still can’t get to 50, isn’t it? As they say, the only poll that matters is May 29.

So long, Santorum

That sound you hear is Texas Republicans crying in their beer.

I love Wikipedia

Rick Santorum’s withdrawal today from the 2012 presidential contest makes Texas Republicans, once again, all but irrelevant in their party’s nomination process.

The drawn-out nature of the race had given party activists rare hope that this would be the most competitive presidential primary since 1976, when Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford duked it out in a contest that didn’t end until the party’s convention.

But a legal fight this year over redistricting pushed the Texas primary to May 29 from early March.

“Certainly if we had gone in March, we would have a much larger voice in this process,” Republican Party spokesman Chris Elam said. “It was the federal [redistricting] trial in San Antonio that kept moving our date back.”

Well, that and the fact that they waited till June to pass a Congressional map, then bypassed the Justice Department in favor of litigating in the DC federal court – they still haven’t issued a ruling, by the way – then appealed the interim map to the Supreme Court even though it was still quite Republican-friendly. I mean, we’d be more than a week into Early Voting right now if Greg Abbott had sucked it up and accepted the San Antonio court’s first map. Sure, they got a better map for themselves (for this year, anyway) as a result, but in return they missed out on participating in the Presidential primary. Only they can answer the question whether that’s a worthwhile trade or not.

Elam pointed out that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Congressman Ron Paul are still in the race.

One word: Newtmentum! Don’t let Mr. Sweater Vest’s absence prevent you from giving a black eye to Mitt Romney, y’all. It’s your solemn duty. Texas On The Potomac and Trail Blazers have more. Oh, and be sure to see the slightly NSFW video about a particular anti-Santorum interest group here. We sure will miss you, Ricky.

Textbook ideology

Who cares about Cesar Chavez and Henry Cisneros when our students could be learning about Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh?

The State Board of Education has appointed “review committees” made up largely of active and retired school teachers to draft new social studies curriculum standards as well as six “expert reviewers” to help shape the final document.

The standards, which the board will decide next spring, will influence new history, civics and geography textbooks.

The first draft for proposed standards in United States History Studies Since Reconstruction says students should be expected “to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority.”

I actually wouldn’t mind ol’ Newtie being in the textbooks, as long the whole truth gets told. Of course, some of that truth would likely be considered too, um, sexually inappropriate for school children. Maybe what we need is a nice long public debate about it first. You can’t be too sure about these things.

Whether students will also be exposed to liberal examples from the ebb and flow of American politics is hard to predict. Conservatives form the largest bloc on the 15-member State Board of Education, whose partisan makeup is 10 Republicans and five Democrats.

David Bradley, R-Beaumont, one of the conservative leaders, figures the current draft will pass a preliminary vote along party lines “once the napalm and smoke clear the room.”

But not all conservative board members share that view.

“It is hard to believe that a majority of the writing team would approve of such wording,” said Terri Leo, R-Spring. “It’s not even a representative selection of the conservative movement, and it is inappropriate.”

Aside to Gail Lowe, the new chair of the SBOE: This is the sort of thing Paul Burka had in mind when he suggested you try to keep David Bradley under control. The alternative is for the “Daily Show” to assign a permanent correspondent to Austin to cover this stuff. Your choice.

Big John versus El Rushbo and The Newt

There’s just not enough popcorn in the world.

As if to magnify what are already major differences between elected Republicans and conservative activists on the question of Sonia Sotomayor, check out what conservative senator (and chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Judiciary Comittee member and former Texas State Supreme Court Justice) had to say on NPR yesterday.

“I think it’s terrible. This is not the kind of tone that any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advice and consent.”

Republican leaders may not have as much sway over their own interest groups as Democratic leaders do over their, so don’t expect the attacks to stop. But it’s a bold statement. He even lashed out at Newt Gingrich and the unassailable Rush Limbaugh.

“Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials [and] I just don’t think it’s appropriate and I certainly don’t endorse it. I think it’s wrong.”

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Of course, any time a Republican official says anything unflattering about Rush, it’s worth asking a couple questions: Will he apologize for it? And how long will he wait?

You know you’ve gone completely round the bend when Big John tells you to dial it down a bit. Not that it matters, as neither Newtie nor the Round Mound of Sound is backing off. Oh, and now the DCCC is joining in the fun by calling out Rep. Pete Sessions, who as Cornyn’s counterpart in Congress has been silent so far. Who needs summer movies when you have this kind of entertainment?

UPDATE: Forgot to add that there’s video of Big John taking on his foes. And as we know, the Rushmeister was in town last night. Here’s a photo of him and some of his fanboys from that event. BOR has more.

The sanctity of marriage personified

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have so much respect for The Onion for its ability to stay ahead of the satire curve.

Rudy Giuliani is declaring war on gay marriage — vowing to use his strong opposition of it against the Democrats if he runs for governor next year. The former mayor, in an extended interview with The Post, also predicted that Gov. Paterson’s high-profile effort to legalize gay marriage would anger many New Yorkers and spark a revolt that could help sweep Republicans into office in 2010.


“Marriage, I believe, both traditionally and legally, has always been between a man and a woman and should remain between a man and woman,” said Giuliani, who has been married three times.

I think he meant “between a man, a woman, and the man’s mistress”. I mean, that’s been his experience with matrimony. Perhaps he could compare notes with Newt Gingrich to be sure. Thanks to Matt Yglesias for the link.