I don’t know what to make of this.
Ill will toward President Barack Obama and a voter belief that Republican Gov. Rick Perry has helped save the Texas economy are giving Perry a re-election lead over Democrat and former Houston Mayor Bill White, according to a new poll done for the Houston Chronicle and four other state newspapers.
Perry leads with 46 percent support to 39 percent for White, with Libertarian candidate Kathie Glass trailing at 4 percent among likely voters; 11 percent were undecided.
The enthusiasm of Republican voters is dramatic. Among registered voters who answered the survey, Republicans held an advantage of 9 percentage points — roughly typical of the vote in recent elections.
Among those who said they are likely to vote, the Republican advantage jumped to 18 percentage points over Democrats.
The telephone survey was of a random sample of 1,443 Texas adults, including 1,072 registered voters and 629 likely voters, conducted Sept. 15-22.
The margin of error for the likely voters is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. The survey was conducted by Blum & Weprin for the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, the Austin American-Statesman and The Dallas Morning News.
Perry and White are in almost a dead heat in Houston and San Antonio. Perry is drubbing White in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with a lead of more than 30 percentage points in those cities. White holds a 7-point lead in Austin.
The two are even in urban areas, but Perry has an almost 11-percentage-point lead in non-urban areas.
I could believe White and Perry are running even in Harris and Bexar counties, which is what I presume they mean by “Houston” and “San Antonio”. I expect White will do better than that, but it’s at least a plausible result to me.
White is leading in Travis County (again, my interpretation of “Austin”) by seven points? Chris Bell, in his four-way race, won Travis by 19 points. David Van Os, who lost by 22 overall in 2006, carried Travis by almost nine points. White leading by seven? I’ll take the over on that.
Perry leading in “the Dallas-Fort Worth area” by 30 points? I’ve already shown that these are Tony Sanchez numbers. Once again, color me skeptical.
On the flip side, how is Perry only leading by 11 in non-urban areas, which are the Republican strongholds, especially in a year where the electorate is supposedly nine points more Republican than expected? (Note that this is not a universal finding.) If Perry is doing better in the places that White would be expected to be strong, how is he doing worse in the places where he’s supposed to clean up? Putting it another way, if White is underperforming in the urban counties, and the electorate is extra Republican this year, how is it that Perry isn’t leading by double digits? Something doesn’t add up.