Emerson College , a rather low profile polling firm, has released a new assessment of the Texas gubernatorial election, the contest between Attorney General Greg Abbott and State Senator Wendy Davis. The poll stands at 49% to Abbott and 42% to Davis, a seven-point lead to the Republican. The poll is the first to be conducted since the primaries, but is not the first to occur since Abbott had his recent flareup with Ted Nugent. That distinction belongs to the Rasmussen Reports poll released last week that had Abbott at 53 and Davis at 41.
The survey consisted of about 500 “likely” voters and had a margin of error of +/-4.4%, give or take. A few interesting points of note: the Emerson poll saw Abbott winning a plurality of female voters, while the opposite was true in the Rasmussen poll; in fact, Davis won a majority of female support. Among other peculiarities was that the poll specifically measured support throughout the different regions of the State. In San Antonio, Davis leads Abbott by a staggering ten points (51D to 41A), whereas Dallas only sees a six point lead (46D to 40A). Houston, however, sees a mere four point edge to the Democrat (47D to 43A). I am going to assume that these numbers reflect the counties those respecting cities occupy (Bexar, Dallas and Harris) until otherwise corrected. If the Democrat only lead by those levels in the city proper, her campaign should truly be scared shiftless (or maybe they should be scared of their own shiftlessness, but I digress).
Losing the plurality of women is a big deal. Without some baseline of support in that demographic, I seriously worry about the Davis campaign’s ability to cobble together a workable coalition that gives some semblance of a path to victory. Furthermore, lackluster support in the cities could spell trouble too.
Emerson College also does not typically put out enough high-profile polls to be taken seriously as a national organization. Nate Silver, the guru of pollster ratings, did not even include Emerson on its final list. I did, however, find this gem on their website about their methodology:
“To achieve a representative sample we employ a weighting technique of demographic breakdowns.
Our first step in weighting is to survey more than enough people. This allows us to then be able to systematically reject individual surveys from demographics that are over represented. Next, survey data is weighted with a 3 point decrease in Conservative opinion and a 3 point increase in Liberal opinion to offset the bias in land line only telephone polls. “
So make of it what you will. Longtime readers of this publication will recall that I am highly skeptical of telephone-only polls, even even more skeptical of those that engage in the statistical voodoo known as “weighting.” As far as I’m concerned, this is one step above the Tribune poll. I am still attentively waiting for the next PPP poll to be released, as I have explained extensively in the past that they are the most reputable and accurate firm.