The Texas Tribune reports on a very comprehensive poll they conducted over just about every competitive primary in the State. The poll has a fairly substantial margin of error (upwards of 6% in the Democratic primary, specifically), so that is something to bear in mind when analyzing the results.
Simply put, the results paint a bad picture for the Democrats. Back at that time, Greg Abbott lead Wendy Davis by only five points; today, Abbott’s lead has grown to Eleven points. Other polls paint a similarly bleak picture for the Democrats, especially considering that these Texas Tribune polls have historically been overly generous to the Democratic candidate. Just a few days after that original Tribune poll, Public Policy Polling (a historically very accurate pollster) estimated Abbott’s lead at a whopping fifteen points. Accordingly, I am eager to see just how bad off the Democrats are doing when PPP releases its triannual February poll any day now.
Also of note here is that these polls were largely conducted before the Ted Nugent scandal really blew over regarding Greg Abbott’s campaign. Therefore, one could plausibly assert that this poll overvalues Davis’ problems emanating from “Trailergate” while simultaneously not taking to account Abbott’s recent woes. Among other issues with this poll was a misleading discrepancy between “registered” and “likely” voters. Additionally, the polls completely disregarded the portion of the electorate still undecided. I have recreated these polls with the undecideds built into the poll, as well as only taking note of the “registered” voters.
To start things off, Attorney General Greg Abbott has a healthy lead over his biggest opponent, undecided voters. Given the lack of any other serious candidate against him, he really should not be worried.
On the other side of the aisle, State Senator Wendy Davis looks a little less healthy, but still gives off a good standing in her respective primary. Barely three-fifths of the vote against a no-name opponent, with another whole quarter of the electorate undecided, is a total embarrassment, both to the Davis campaign and to all those starry-eyed optimist so confident in the State swaying Democratic in the near future.
As for John Cornyn, he was not so lucky in this poll. With a huge third of the electorate still wholly undecided, things look to be a tossup with eight days until the primary. Unlike certain other previous polls, Congressman Steve Stockman –Sen. Cornyn’s most high profile opponent– does not have a significant portion of the vote. The other six candidates, however, garnered a combined 16% of the vote.
The Democratic primary for the Senate election, meanwhile, probably has received the most attention of any of the polls. In misleading fashion, the Tribune only focused on the roughly 26% of those surveyed that came up with a cognizant answer. Accordingly, it many of the preliminary readings of the poll, it looked like Kesha Rogers, a Lyndon LaRouche cultist, was the plurality winner and destined to go into a runoff with David Alameel, the Democratic establishment’s predominant pick.
However, I have yet to see any convincing evidence that a plurality of those still undecided will similarly fall in line behind Rogers. Oblivious Democrats will fall in line behind whichever candidate their local interest group, newspaper, church group, etc will support.
The Lieutenant Governor primary does not really surprise me. The idea of Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and State Senator Dan Patrick advancing into a runoff is not an old or otherwise novel idea.
The Attorney General’s primary poll probably does surprise me a little bit. A had figured that State Representative Dan Branch, who maintains a huge advantage in fundraising and cash on hand, would flood the airways in the waning day of the primary to establish himself as the big leader. Some observers had even opined Rep. Branch receiving over 40% of the vote in the preliminary primary.
Accordingly, to see him have a negligible lead over State Senator Ken Paxton is a bit surprising. It certainly is welcome new for the Paxton campaign, which is significantly more conservative than the aforementioned Branch.
In the Comptroller’s primary, former County Chairwoman Debra Medina holds a significant plurality advantage, and looks destined for a runoff placement. As for who will be in the runoff with her, it is still anyone’s guess between State Senator Glenn Hegar and State Representative Harvey Hilderbran.
The 2016 Presidential straw poll just appears to make a lot of noise, though two things stand out to me in particular. First, Governor Rick Perry regains some semblance of respect among Republican primary voters. Second, Chris Christie’s support has completely imploded.
Back to the aforementioned Gubernatorial general election, Davis sees a considerable deficit against Abbott.
Last but not least, the four general election matchups in the race for Lieutenant Governor. State Senator Leticia Van de Putte trails by 12% against Todd Stapes, 11% against David Dewhurst and Jerry Patterson and 9% against Dan Patrick.
Like I have said all along, the antics in downballot races have almost no effect on their actual results. The popularity of the President, national politics parties and the gubernatorial campaign will accurately predict this race to a tee. Naive Democrats who foolishly long for a Dan Patrick type as the nominee because they somehow think he would be “easier to beat” are enormously inept in their reasoning.
The main breakaway points from this poll are as follows:
1) Wendy Davis and the Democrats are doing worse
2) Democrats’ biggest obstacle to success is themselves
Brains & Eggs has more.