Terrible, terrible poll

The Texas Tribune has released its newest poll, and the results continue to paint a bleak picture for the campaign of State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Tarrant County), the Democratic candidate for Governor. The poll has her down 12 points to Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate. The poll also examined Statewide races up and down the ticket and found that Democrats were doing miserably bad in all of them. Most all of these polls included Libertarian and Green candidates, for what it is worth. Additionally, undecideds boasted pretty good showings in all of these races, and the number only got bigger the further down the ballot one traveled.

As many will remember, the Tribune commissioned an extensive poll in February that was not worth the non-existent paper that is was not printed upon. Among the many terrible predictions it made was that Kesha Rogers and Debra Medina led the plurality in their respective primaries. Rogers barely squeaked into a runoff and Medina came in a distant last place in a race where one candidate (Hegar) won outright. I went after the Tribune with a wrench in the Daily Texan a couple days after the preliminary primary completely discredited their polling, noting that we should not waste our breath analyzing something so unreliable anymore.  As my friend Charles Kuffner noted yesterday, the Tribune polls should be “in time-out,” meaning that we have to very look at what they have to say quite critically.

US Senate3

Unsurprising, Sen. Cornyn boasts a huge lead over David Alameel, his Democratic opponent. The Libertarian and Green candidates, respectively, as well as the “Other” option, garnered a combined 13% of the vote, a HUGE amount that denotes a largely unsatisfied electorate. That over a quarter of the electorate is still undecided is not especially surprising. If we were to remove that chunk, assuming the undecideds were to vote along the same lines, Cornyn would already have 49%, compared to 33% for Alameel, 7% for Paddock and “Other” and 4% for Sanchez.

Governor

Meanwhile, Abbott’s lead has grown to 12 points, up from 11 back in February. Once again, if you removed the undecideds, Abbott already has 53% compared to 39% for Davis.

Lt Gov

Meanwhile, State Senator Dan Patrick (R-Harris County), the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, has another expanded lead (Editor’s note: We erred in creating the chart, Patrick’s total should say 41%), specifically of 15 points. His Democratic opponent, State Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-Bexar County), despite being up against an arguably more extreme opponent, unfortunately has a bigger deficit.

Attorney General

Despite his all-star political name, Sam Houston did not do any better than the other Democrats.

Comptroller

In one glimmer of hope for the Democrats, Mike Collier is only seven points behind State Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Harris County), the Republican nominee. It is the closest Statewide race there is in the poll, and Collier basically claimed it as a victory on his website.

LC

Nothing really sticks out to me in this race, except the Libertarian did a little better than one might expect. Perhaps there is still more animosity toward Bushes than I had previously thought.

AC

What can I say about this race, other than it never ceases to break my heart. Former State Representative Sid Miller (R-Erath County), the Republican nominee, garnered less than one-third of the poll, less than any other member of the party. Unfortunately, stupid Austin Democrats (redundant?) rallied the primary electorate against the best and most well-known candidate, Kinky Friedman. Beating him last month was Jim Hogan, who has no money, no campaign and no desire for an actual contest. We forfeited this race based on our own stupidity, but at least the Austin snobs still have their pride.

RC

Similarly, very few people have come up with an opinion on this lowest non-Judicial Statewide race. The Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas and actually has nothing to do with railroads, typically does not garner much publicity.

2016

Once again, this is not very surprising. As I previously noted in The Daily Texan, extremists like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) lead the pack in Texas a week ago at the State GOP convention. I get the feeling that this poll had prearranged answer options, and that it was not free-response. In Fort Worth, the right-wing activist Ben Carson actually came in second place, whereas he is inconspicuously absent from this list.

2016D

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still boosts a huge advantage, though admittedly not as big as it had once been. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has begun to steadily increase her support, namely (I would guess) from uber-liberals in Austin, Dallas and Houston.

All in all, the statistics behind this poll seem to make sense, with once HUGE, blaring exception. On the topic of geographic diversity, a big 31% of respondents reported living in the Austin area. Only 10% reported living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Now, if we are to ascertain the size of these metro areas based on how the Census defines them, Dallas-Fort Worth is 26% of the State and Greater Houston is 24% of the State (the poll only used 21% for Houston). Greater Austin, meanwhile, barely represents 7%.

My point is that the poll drastically oversampled Austin and drastically undersampled Dallas-Fort Worth. They also nominally undersampled Houston. A quick reaction to this is that the results are actually far more conservative than reported, but statistics don’t work on those types of assumptions. In short, my knee-jerk reaction from the start of this post, that Tribune polls are worthless, is probably the best conclusion.

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4 thoughts on “Terrible, terrible poll

  1. I clicked on this only because of how visually appalling the pie charts are. For someone who claims to understand statistics, you’ve completely missed the mark when it comes to communicating information/ data. Lost a lot of credibility in my mind.

  2. “Most all of these polls included Libertarian and Green candidates, for what it is worth.”

    What a wonderfully Democratic attitude.

    The US now has an oligarchic, factional government, similar to Iraq or Afghanistan. Factions are more important to voters than democracy, and democracy is more important than liberty.

    The result is a citizenry that are treated just like so many employees of some mega-coroporation. Our language belies that we think of government as a “management” organization, rather then a government.

    This corporate model has its roots in military organizations. We all become foot soldiers in obedience to the collective. We get uniform GI issue of identical products and services because they are “cheaper.”

    So we now must duke it out until we are alienated from half our neighbors so our faction wins the role of omnipotent tyrant, because if we have an individuality different than the prevailing majority, we will be quashed.

    No one seems to even be thinking or talking about liberty or the individual. The smothering structure is so baked in to our assumptions that all we argue about is what the universal rules applicable to everyone should be.

    • Sorry to burst your bubble, but the candidates of these so-called “oligarchical factions” are not selected by some evil, nefarious cabal. They’re chosen in an open primary election that anyone can vote in.

      These elections typically have 1-3% voter turnout, making them remarkably cheap to win.

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