How much is Davis losing by?

This appears to be the big question. The Houston Chronicle reports that a few polls have come out in the gubernatorial election, each painting a successively worse picture for State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Tarrant County), the Democratic candidate for Governor. First, an internal poll from the campaign of Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for Governor, that showed him beating Davis by 18 points. Davis fired back with one showing her deficit to only be eight points. Meanwhile, YouGov –in conjunction with both CBS and The New York Times– released its second poll for this race, confirming Abbott’s lead at 18, actually one point higher than the previous YouGov poll from over the summer.

The first poll, Abbott’s internal memo, was conducted by a firm called Wilson Perkins Allen. The firm typically has a sizable Republican bias, but with a result this overwhelming, there should be little doubt of who is up by double digits. The poll showed Abbott leading with a majority of both women and Hispanics.

Internal Poll

The second poll, Davis’ internal poll, paints a far rosier picture, with the deficit being a comparably mere eight points. Both of these internal polls, as best as I can figure out, exclude both Kathie Glass (the Libertarian) and Brandon Parmer (the Green). This poll, effectively, has the same result that Rasmussen Report offered up last month. Granted, this poll may offer some improvement for Davis, since Rasmussen pegged the race at 48Abbott-40Davis and this poll offers 46Abbott-38Davis, meaning that Abbott is further from the all-important 50-percent mark.

However, there have been some Pro-Davis groups that have latched onto this poll as some type of “momentum” for the Democrats. Obviously, such characterizations are unwise.

Internal Poll2

Finally, we come to the YouGov poll. They have a rather haphazard track record, but the new 18 point deficit that Davis faces has actually grown since July. As I wrote at length about YouGov when their previous poll came out, they should be taken with a grain of salt, but not be so wholeheartedly discounted like a Texas Tribune poll.


As I have explained ad naseum in the past, Public Policy Polling (PPP) and Rasmussen Reports are the only two polling houses worth their weight in paper that actually poll Texas.

If I stopped ten people on the street in Houston and jotted down the results on this publication, that might be the worst poll in the history of Texas polling. But, statistically speaking, there would be a noticeable chance that 5 support Abbott, 4 support Davis and 1 currently undecided. That doesn’t mean I have a good poll, it means that –for lack of a non-cliched phrase– my broken clock is right on one of its obligatory two instances throughout the day.

Accordingly, I share the sentiment of many Democrats in discounting the apocalyptic tone that the YouGov poll would seem to prompt from the Davis campaign. If I had to guess, I would think that Davis currently trails at about 8-10 points, with an insignificant portion of the electorate still undecided. All other things being equal, that is where she will probably end up, losing to Abbott around 53-43, with the remainder split amongst the fringe candidates.

The Davis campaign appears complacent with the eight-point deficit to a worrisome extent. I observed much of the same complacent-with-mediocrity attitude a couple weeks back when one national pundit moved the gubernatorial race from “safe Republican” to “leans Republican.” You would have thought a poll had put the Democrat ahead by their gleeful attitudes.

The Chronicle article that I linked at the top of this post makes much the same point. This is not 2012, where both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were arguing over polls that showed either one clinching victory. The only argument here is how much Davis is losing by, and it is a rather depressing argument over semantics for her to make.

Brains & Eggs and Off the Kuff have more.

Reality Check, Part II

The Dallas Morning News reports that Public Policy Polling (PPP) has released its third 2014 election poll in the State of Texas. The poll paints a pretty awful picture of where Wendy Davis stands against Greg Abbott in the race for Governor, in stark contrast to the Texas Tribune Poll released just yesterday.

The poll shows Abbott’s lead grow to a staggering 15 points (with Abbott at the 50% threshold), nearly doubling the lead he held in July and even stronger than the lead held in January. The polls also examine the entrance of Debra Medina as an undecided into the race, as well as a general election matchup for Lieutenant Governor that included David Dewhurst and Leticia Van de Putte.

There were no polls, however, involving the primary elections (specifically the especially acrimonious Lieutenant Governor Republican primary). Though there was an examination of the omnibus anti-abortion bill’s popularity throughout the State. Favorability ratings were also examined, though I found those less important.

Click here to read full results and more analysis!

Guv update 10/2

From January into August, the astute followers of this blog will remember my ubiquitous “Lege updates” which focused on all the little tidbits undeserving of their own articles, and then summed them up into one longer article on the general discussions of the day. Well, the Legislature has long since adjourned, but I now find the need to apply the same template. Accordingly, get ready for a plethora of “Gov update”s over the course of the next 13 months.

Today, two major events occurred. First, the first official third-party candidate announced intentions for next year. It was not Debra Medina, nor was it Kinky Friedman. Rather, it was a bona fide member of the Texas Libertarian Party: Kathie Glass. The Texas Tribune reports on this development further, noting that Glass is promising to run a competitive election by visiting all 254 Texas counties. Further, Glass will have a somewhat original campaign strategy: nullification. For those not familiar with the term, nullification is the antiquated dilatory measure from the 18th Century originally envisioned by Thomas Jefferson. It allows states to simply be their own arbiters of constitutionality, rejecting laws in the process.

Glass previously ran for Governor in 2010, where she garnered a little more than 2% of the vote. I cannot imagine any reason she would get any more this time around, assuming she doesn’t do anything different. The Tribune article noted some other Libtertarian names running for office in 2014. Brandon de Heyos and Ed Kless will both seek the Lieutenant Governorship. Glass’ husband, Tom Glass, will run for Attorney General. Rocky Palmquist will win for Agriculture Commissioner and Mark Miller will run for Railroad Commission.  In what might be a first for the Texas Libertarians, one additional candidate is actually an incumbent officeholder. Running for Land Commissioner is Ed Tidwell. He currently serves on the City Council of the City of Lago Vista (a suburb of Austin). The position, while nominally non-partisan, is significant as the third party seems to be gaining a small amount of traction.

In other news, an organization named Texas Lyceum released a comprehensive poll on a whole line of issues, but with perhaps the most high-profile results for the gubernatorial election. In a result the Texas Tribune expanded upon, the biggest winner –by far– is that chunk of undecided voters. Abbott, with 29%, and Davis, with 21%, are both dwarfed by the huge 50% of those surveyed who have yet to make up their minds.

Among the more notable features of the poll, which may be viewed in its entirety here, are a question noting a mere 1% of Texans who believe Abortion is the State’s most important issue. Question 6 is also interesting, showing a 54% approval rating in the State for President Obama. The poll also measured grand support for lots of big government projects, like building new highways, mass transit and high-speed commuter rails between the major cities.

While the margin of error was comparably small (+/-3%), the huge amount of undecided votes more or less invalidates the poll.