This is a pleasant surprise.
It’s time to add United States Senator John Cornyn to the list of potentially vulnerable Republican incumbents in Election 2008. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state find Cornyn leading Democratic state legislator Rick Noriega by just four percentage points, 47% to 43%.
Noreiga leads among voters earning less than $40,000 a year. Cornyn leads among those with higher incomes. Cornyn leads among Evangelical Christian voters and other Protestants. Noreiga leads among those with a different faith background. Both candidates do well within their own party and are fairly evenly matched among unaffiliated voters.
The key question for this year is what exactly is the partisan mix in Texas these days. The old wisdom of 50R/35D/15I would seem to me to not be operative any longer. There’s plenty of evidence – election results from 2006 in which Democrats won or were competitive in districts that were not thought to be friendly to them, the unprecedented turnout in the Democratic primary, and so on – to suggest that there’s more Ds and fewer Rs than there were just an election cycle or two ago. We can also expect, for the first time since 2002, the Dems will have enough money to run a real statewide campaign, and to get voters out in a way that hasn’t happened recently. Pollsters are going to have to make some different assumptions about who is a likely voter, and what the ratio of Ds to Rs is, and I figure we’ll see some conflicting results because of that.
Thirty-four percent (34%) of voters say the state’s Republican Governor, Rick Perry, is doing a good or excellent job. Twenty-eight percent (28%) say he is doing a poor job.
President George W. Bush doesn’t do as well. Just 39% of voters in his adopted home state say that the President has done a good or an excellent job. Forty-five percent (45%) rate his performance as poor.
That paragraph about Governor Perry is a bit misleading. They left out the fact that another 36% rate his performance as fair. Put another way, his favorability ratings are 34/64. In Bush’s case, it’s 39/60. Yes, 60% disapproval in Texas. It isn’t 2002 any more.
Speaking of the Presidential race:
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found McCain leading Clinton 49% to 43%. Against Obama, McCain attracts 48% of the vote while the Democrat earns 43%.
Sweet. If the poll numbers stay in this range, we can hope for even more involvement from the national folks. All it should take is the belief that this year is unlike any other. I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t be open to that idea by now. Kos, who has his own poll for Texas in the field, has some crosstabs.
UPDATE: The newly-launched Noriega campaign blog has a roundup of blog reactions to this good news.