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.

Click here to read more!

Secretary Castro?

The New York Times reports that Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, one of the Democrats’ biggest rising hopes for the future of the State, is President Barack Obama’s pick as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The incumbent Secretary, Shaun Donovan, looks to be the next Budget director (the incumbent budget director, meanwhile, has been tapped as the new Secretary of Health and Human Services). The reshuffling is important because Castro is not term limited out of office, as Mayor of San Antonio for another three years. Additionally, he reportedly declined an offer to become Secretary of Transportation.

Castro received the obsequious adulation one would expect from liberal lemmings upon hearing this news. I, of course, wish the best for Castro and honestly believe that he would make a very good HUD Secretary, but I lament the long term implications of such a change. However, first things first, San Antonio will have to choose a new Mayor. The Rivard Report notes that the San Antonio City Council must choose themselves who Castro’s successor will be. Likely a member of the City Council her or himself, but plausibly someone else as well. This successor will serve out of the remainder of Castro’s term, about a year.

Click here to read my take on this move by Castro!

Let’s talk about 2016

The transition from Boston to Austin has brought about a few interesting quandaries, most notably related to my columns in each school  newspaper, be that The Justice at Brandeis or The Daily Texan here at UT. When I was in Boston, the higher-ups at the paper frowned upon me using hyper local political action coming out of the Lone Star State as column topics, for obvious reasons. Accordingly, my Tuesday morning column focused nearly exclusively upon national political issues. Sometimes they were related to ongoing issues, be that Supreme Court cases on Affirmative Action (serendipitously, a case revolving around UT itself) to comments following the Boston Marathon bombing. However, sometimes I made a stink about an issue exclusively for the hell of it, with little to show in newsworthy connections. Those took the form of an infamous rant on why I hate euphemisms to ripping into the infallible cult that has been created by Obama fans. Either way, just about anyone in the country with an eye to politics could read my thoughts and know what is going on, not to mention care for it.

For better or for worse, the same cannot be said of most of my Daily Texan columns this year. The general policy is to connect the subject-matters back to UT, which typically means that it is a local policy issue I write on. Don’t get me wrong, I lovelocal politics, that is the entire reason I founded this blog over 18 months ago (WOW! Time flies). That being said, I do miss infusing my opinions on national matters, as much as I readily admit that I likely do little more than add to the noise when my opinions are heard among countless others.

Click here to read what I have decided to do!

Wendy and Julian

The Austin American-Statesman reports that Wendy Davis, who just announced on Monday she would only run for re-election or Governor, will be making an announcement on the Governor’s election “in a couple of week.”

The phrasing of this announcement is somewhat peculiar, and it gives me the strongest inkling yet that Davis will end up running for Governor. Nobody gives a speech to announce they’re not going to do something. For example, among the many candidates who were rumored to be considering a run for Comptroller was Christi Craddick, a Railroad Commissioner and former Speaker Tom Craddick’s daughter. When she recently noted she would not be running for that position, there was no speech, no announced, absolutely no pomp and circumstance. Instead, she simply disclosed the detail on Facebook.

This is why I am now convinced, more than ever, that Davis will run for Governor. There is no way that, with the amount she has been frankly speaking on the topic, that Davis still hasn’t made up her mind. I take it she has made up her mind, meaning that if she had made the decision to not run for re-election, she would have already let that leak to the press. But perhaps we are just overanalyzing this.

In other news, the San Antonio Express-News reports that Julian Castro, the Mayor of San Antonio, will be going to IOWA. Specifically, he will be headline a “Steak Fry” put on by Senator Tom Harkin, Iowa’s Democratic Senator. In 2006, the event was headlined by an individual who had also keynoted at the most recent Democratic National Convention: Barack Obama. As the Express-News explains:

In 2006, then-Sen. Barack Obama headlined the event. He told the New York Times at the event that he wasn’t running for president, a seat he would secure two years later. Two years before, Obama was catapulted into the national conscience when he presented the 2004 keynote address at the DNC.

I, for one, think there is about a 0% chance of Julian Castro running for President in 2016–maybe Hillary Clinton’s running mate. That being said, there are some significant other reasons Castro would be going to the Hawkeye State. I was going to delineate them, but but Cal Jillson of SMU, speaking in the Express-News article beat me to the point:

“When you get Cruz going to South Carolina, New Hampshire and also Iowa, that is an indication that he’s at least laying the groundwork for a presidential run if circumstances seem favorable in 2016,” Jillson said. “That’s not what Castro’s doing. What he’s doing is going to a highly visible event in one of the early states in the presidential selection process but not for the purpose of touting himself.”

It is important, however, to note that the DNC was not a one-time deal for Julian Castro and the national spotlight.

Annise Parker is not running for Governor

In case you were wondering. The question has been coming up, first in January and later in July, after her name popped up –along with that of Julian Castro, Wendy Davis and Bill White– in PPP polls for upcoming Statewide elections.

Somehow, amidst the rancor over HB2 and the drama over Campaign finance reports, I missed a tweet by the Mayor stating:

“LOL. I appreciate the encouragement to run for Governor, but I have the best job already and hope to keep it for 2 more years.-A.”

This does not come as a surprise to me, nor should it to really anyone. Parker is very obviously running for re-election, a race that will last until the middle of December if there is a runoff. If she were to run Statewide, it would require filing the signatures for the primary ballot about the same day as her third inauguration. There are some pretty outlandish politicians in Houston who would have the unmitigated temerity to do something like that, but Parker is not one of them.

I would feel like a bit of a schmuck if I wrote an entire post on how Parker isn’t running for Governor, because it is sort of like those headlines which triumphantly state that rain causes flooding: this shouldn’t be news to anyone. Instead, I’d like to read the tea leaves for what Parker’s future will look like.

I tend to think there is a very good chance (+90%) Parker will be re-elected, so this occupies her through January of 2016. She will be 59 at that point, and in no hurry to retire. The timing gives her a variety of options going forwards. First, as I predicted long ago, I think there could be a chance Parker will run for the House of Representatives, specifically Sheila Jackson Lee’s seat (though I doubt the two would actually run against each other). SJL will have been serving for 20 years by that point, though she will still be comparatively young.

The Congress option would probably be the only option where Parker would go straight into something else, politically speaking. Otherwise, she would most likely spend at least a year on a private company’s payroll, doing consulting or what not. She will have been on a civil servant’s salary for 18 years by 2016, she may want a change of pace.

Second, if Hillary Clinton runs (which I think she will) and wins (which I also think she will), Parker could easily get a job in the new Administration doing something. Again, this would be a good end-path for the Mayor.

Third, there is certainly still a chance Parker would run Statewide in 2018. Governor is probably not the most likely possibility, as I would put my money on Comptroller. The only problem with this, as I wrote back in August, is that Parker is liberal and lesbian, not the old, White, moderate man that Democrats in this State love to nominate. The African-American Democratic political community in this State has an unfortunate homophobic streak, which could complicate primary efforts. It would be a stretch, to say the least, to find Parker doing well on a Statewide ballot any time soon.

But the biggest priority right now is 2013.

Senate & Presidential polls

Public Policy Polling, fresh off of crushing the hopes & dreams of Wendy fans a few days ago,  has released a new poll aimed at the Senate & Presidential elections. Luckily, in this poll, the Democrats have retained the same deficit, instead of growing it. Like my previous analysis of these polls, let us go forth and analyze below:

3. John Cornyn v. Julian Castro
50% Cornyn
37% Castro
+6 R

4. Cornyn v. Wendy Davis
48% Cornyn
40% Davis
+3 D

5. Cornyn v. Annise Parker
49% Cornyn
36% Parker
+2 R

6. Cornyn v. Bill White
47% Cornyn
40% White
+4 R

14. Hillary Clinton v. Chris Christie
38% Clinton
47% Christie
+12% R

15. Clinton v. Rick Perry
48% Clinton
44% Perry
+4% R

16. Clinton v. Jeb Bush
43% Clinton
46% Bush
N/A

17. Clinton v. Ted Cruz
44% Clinton
49% Cruz
N/A

In case it is not apparently obvious, the emboldened lines of text represent the change in voter preference since the January poll.

This poll tells me a number of things. First and foremost, the poll is significant for the 2016 Election because of who they select as the sample candidates. Like the January poll, John Cornyn is the only listed Republican for the Senate and Castro, Davis, Parker and White are the four candidates for the Democrats. Additionally, Hillary Clinton is the only listed Democratic presidential candidate. The real change is in the Republican Presidential contenders. Chris Christie, Rick Perry and Marco Rubio were the only Rs mentioned in the January poll. Since that time, Rubio has been axed, presumably because of the immigration screw-up and Poland Springs product placement. Added to the list have been Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz.

Again, I get the feeling that PPP has absolutely zero faith in the ability of the Texas Democratic Party to nominate anywhere near a competent candidate. This is because they again have refused to poll Texas Democrats on their preference for the high offices, both Senatorial and Gubernatorial.  Julian Castro, Wendy Davis, Annise Parker and Bill White have been mentioned as possible Democrats for the fourth statewide poll, but no one has any idea which one is preferred by local progressives.

Wendy Davis again improves her standing among the Texas electorate, being the only Democrat to improve her standing since the January poll. John Cornyn improved his overall position against all the other candidates, albeit by negligible amounts.  Hillary Clinton lost ground in both polls that there were precedents therefor. While she lead in all three January polls, she led in just 1/4 this time. It is worth stating that she lead Rick Perry in that poll.

I have been stating for a while that, as Barack Obama descends into the land of the lame ducks, the Hillary haters will come out in full force. It was somewhat ludicrous to ever think Clinton could win in an uber-landslide in 2016. If she runs, she would most likely win, but because she would win Ohio, Virginia and Florida, not because she would win Texas & Arizona.

Finally, the poll asked if Texans support gay marriage and universal background checks. 72% support universal background checks, while only 34% support gay marriage, respectively. Neither of these numbers are very surprising, but it is worth stating that the gay marriage number is actually one digit lower than in January. Opinion polls on this issue usually vary somewhat significantly between polling companies, so I am not inclined to compare the number to other polls released. The number is 5% higher than a 2011 poll from PPP, though.

This is somewhat choppy and unorganized, sorry.

New candidates and new polls

It is a busy day for 2014 in the State. First up, The Texas Tribune reports on a poll just released that they commissioned along with the University of Texas. Let us dig in:

14. If Rick Perry were to run for governor again in 2014, would you vote for him, would you vote against him, or would you need to wait and see who is running against him?
VOTE FOR-25%
VOTE AGAINST-38%
WAIT-31%
DON’T KNOW-6%

16. 2014 Republican Primary for Lieutenant Governor
DAVID DEWHURST-19%
DAN PATRICK-10%
JERRY PATTERSON-6%
TODD STAPLES-5%
NO OPINION-61%

17. 2016 Republican Primary for President
TED CRUZ-25%
RAND PAUL-13%
MARCO RUBIO-11%
RICK PERRY-10%
CHRIS CHRISTIE-8%
PAUL RYAN-8%
BOBBY JINDAL-2%
RICK SANTORUM-2%
NO OPINION-21%

18. 2016 Democratic Primary for President
HILLARY CLINTON-66%
JOE BIDEN-11%
ANDREW CUOMO-1%
KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND-1%
MARK WARNER-1%
NO OPINION-19%

19. 2014 Republican Primary for Governor
RICK PERRY-45%
GREG ABBOTT-19%
SOMEONE ELSE” (Tom Pauken)-11%
NO OPINION-25%

Pundits will attempt to justify the results of this poll as somehow revolutionary, but there are very few points worth actually discussing. Nobody should be surprised at the prospect of Hillary Clinton winning a primary poll. Further, no one should be surprised that favorite son Ted Cruz wins the GOP primary poll.  Rick Perry flew pretty high on these polls for the 2012 election. It should not be a surprise that States like their own, mainly because of the familiarity.

Further, the poll for Lieutenant Governor is worthless. Even the incumbent has zero name recognition, so it does not give us a good insight into who will win that election. The Gubernatorial poll, however, does have some merit. Rick Perry holds a decisive lead over Greg Abbott and Tom Pauken. I think there has been a pretty strong sentiment in this State that Rick Perry might not run for re-election because of fear he would lose. I think it is abundantly clear now, however, that he has nothing to worry about in that regard.

New Candidates
The Texas Tribune also has a nice little article about Barry Smitherman, the Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. The Tribune highlights especially close on Smitherman’s possible aspirations to the Attorney General’s office, assuming Abbott runs for Governor. Also mentioned in the article are Senator Ken Paxton, former Supreme Court Justice Harriet O’Neill and Representative Dan Branch, whose Twitter feed made the official announcement today.

2014 is really starting to heat up.

Clinton leads in Texas 2016 poll

The third and final segment of that PPP poll involved the 2016 Presidential election. The numbers assumed Hillary Clinton would be the Democrats’ 2016 nominee, and she crushed the opposition–even in the Lone Star State. The poll also showed that same-sex marriage and Jerry Jones are quite unpopular. Also, in my opinion, the best part of the poll: 50% of Texans do not consider themselves Cowboys fans. Between a Democrat winning Texas, and a majority of Texans being Texans fans, this might be the greatest poll to ever be commissioned. Full results below:

Same sex marriage, civil union, or no recognition?: 33% (same sex marriage) to 28% (civil union) to 36% (no recognition)
Dallas Cowboys approval rating: 42% (approve) to 50% (disapprove)
Texas secession approval rating: 20% (approve) to 67% (disapprove)
Ted Cruz approval rating: 36% (approve) to 30% (disapprove)
George P. Bush approval rating: 41% (approve) to 33% (disapprove)
Hillary Clinton approval rating: 50% (approve) to 43% (disapprove)
Lane Armstrong approval rating: 16% (approve) to 59% (disapprove)
Jerry Jones approval rating: 13% (approve) to 50% (disapprove)

GOP Primary: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan: 21% (Rubio), 14% (Huckabee), 13% (Paul), 11% (Bush), 11% (Ryan), Christie (9%), 4% (Jindal), 4% (Perry), 2% (Martinez).
Hillary Clinton vs. Chris Christie: 45% (Clinton) to 43% (Christie)
Hillary Clinton vs. Rick Perry: 50% (Clinton) to 42% (Perry)
Hillary Clinton vs. Marco Rubio: 46% (Clinton) to 45% (Perry)

First, I’d like to say that these numbers are pretty great. Not just because of the Democrat leading, but because of just how unpopular the Governor would be in a Democratic primary. Also, for the record, I’m not sure how one can measure whether they should “approve” George P. Bush, given that he has never held any public office before. Approve what? Him being a lawyer. The gay marriage numbers are disappointing.

 

Stupid musings on the future

We, here at Texpatriate, haven’t decided to play the game of futurology in a while. Since the quintessential cynic in me was wrong about Mitt Romney being elected President, I might have to redo my old timeline.

November/December 2013-Annise Parker is re-elected after defeating, among others, Ben Hall. May or not be the need for a runoff election.

March 2014-Greg Abbott defeats Rick Perry in the primary for Governor. David Dewhurst is squeezed into a runoff with one of his many challengers (he may or may not win the runoff). George P. Bush cruises to victory in his run for Land Commissioner. The Democrats, if they are unsuccessful in drafting a superstar (like Tommy Lee Jones or Cecile Richards), essentially concede defeat by not running competitive candidates against Abbott and Cornyn and the like.

May 2014-Dewhurst may or may not survive his runoff election.

November 2014-Republicans take control of the US Senate, Democrats pick up a few seats in the US House. Democrats picks up a few states in both houses of the State Legislature; GOP maintains control thereof and of all statewide offices.

November 2015-Houston elects first Latino mayor.

November 2016-Hillary Clinton elected President; Democrats retake US Senate, pick up a few seats in the US House (still not control). Democrats pick up a few states in State Legislature, all Statewides stay with the GOP.

November 2017-Latino mayor re-elected.

November 2018-First cracks in the GOP barrier. I still am hoping for the Castro/Davis ticket.