Public Policy Poling has another poll out today that examines the horse-race in the Statewide elections, the first of its kind from PPP following last month’s primary. In short, the Democrats have a lot of work to do, with huge deficits for Wendy Davis, Leticia Van de Putte, David Alameel and John Cook, among others. Just from a cursory review of the recent pollsters and evaluations, I am prepared to say that, in some ways, 2014 will be a worse year for Texas Democrats than 2010 was, ceteris paribus.
The last time PPP created one of those polls, it put State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Tarrant County), the Democratic nominee for Governor, 15 points down against Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate (ABBOTT 51, DAVIS 37). In the five months since, a whole lot has happened of consequence. First, there was the whole “Trailergate” thing, then deeper questions about the competence of Davis’ campaign. However, starting about six weeks ago, a funny thing happened. Abbott began stumbling unprovoked, first with the Ted Nugent scandal then with a flareup over Equal Pay. In recent days, the controversy has centered on the fact that Abbott’s education plan not only aims to extend standardized testing to four-year olds, but also relied upon the commentary of a Charles Murray, once cited as a white supremacist by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Seriously.
Throughout all of these tumbles on Abbott’s part, the Wendy Davis campaign has ignited hope that they would be in a much better place come the next poll. The poll was quite literally conducted in the last few days, specifically last Thursday to last Sunday. Accordingly, one may not use the excuse that these most recent scandals have not taken affect at this time.
In other pollster news, the Lieutenant Governor, US Senate and Land Commissioner races also look quite likely to be solid wins for Republicans. In that race, assuming incumbent David Dewhurst is renominated by the Republicans, he would lead State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-Bexar County), the Democratic nominee, by 18 points (DEWHURST 50, VAN DE PUTTE 32). If the more conservative State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Harris County) is nominated by the GOP instead, he would lead Van de Putte by 16 (DEWHURST 51, PATRICK 35). The Dewhurst/Patrick race will be decided in a May primary runoff, and Patrick looks like the odds-on favorite to win.
In the Senate race, incumbent Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, holds a strong lead over David Alameel, the likely Democratic nominee for the US Senate. Cornyn holds a 17 point lead (CORNYN 49, ALAMEEL 32). Alameel, of course, is the Democratic nominee yet, as he still must face Kesha Roger, a LaRouche cultist, in a Democratic runoff.
Last, but certainly not least, PPP profiled a downballot contest, Land Commissioner (the only one with a Republican nominee already selected). George P. Bush, the Republican nominee holds an 18 point lead over John Cook, a former Mayor of El Paso and the Democratic nominee (BUSH 50, COOK 32).
In comparison, the pertinent polls at this point in the 2010 election cycle had Democrats down by an average of only 4 points. Considering how that election turned out, it should be very telling that Democrats, on average, are down by quadruple that margin.
My hobby has always been to eliminate the undecideds, either assuming they do not show up or vote along the same lines as those who have made up their minds. Typically, that is a more accurate predictor of the true horse-race at play. However, these polls unfortunately assume a race of exactly two candidates, when the truth couldn’t be further. A Libertarian, probably Kathie Glass (2010’s nominee), will garner at least 2% of the vote, basically exclusively from the Republicans. Accordingly, here is my final prediction:
VAN DE PUTTE–39%
VAN DE PUTTE–41%
In comparison, the 2010 Gubernatorial election (Perry/White/Libertarian) stood at 55/42/2. However, Bill White, a popular former Mayor of Houston, outperformed the rest of the ticket in his hometown, inflating his margins by a significant percentage. Down the ballot, the Lieutenant Governor election saw the Republican, David Dewhurst, rack up 62% of the vote with the Democrat, Linda Chavez-Thompson, getting 35%. Similarly, the Land Commissioner race stood at 62/35/3.
Accordingly, while Wendy Davis is shaping up for a loss worse than 2010’s Bill White calamity, the rest of the ticket can boast higher margins than last time.