With just under 100 days to go until the gubernatorial election, an overwhelming majority of voters have made up their minds and favor Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott over Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis by double digits, according to a poll released this weekend.
The survey, done by polling firm YouGov in collaboration with CBS and The New York Times, shows 34 percent supporting Davis and 3 percent leaning toward voting for her, while the same numbers split 50-4 for Abbott. Perhaps the worst news from the poll for the Davis campaign is that only 2 percent aren’t sure for whom they’re going to vote, leaving a very small slice of a red-state electorate to vie for over the next three months.
The poll relies on a somewhat new and unusual method — an online panel as opposed to live or automated calling. It is seen as a response to the kind of surveys that were criticized following the 2012 presidential race, when President Barack Obama’s margin of victory beat most pollsters’ expectations. The New York Times’ Upshot site Sunday provided a more detailed explanation of the method.
The Davis campaign pushed back on the poll as flawed because it didn’t reach voters who don’t have an Internet connection, people who tend to be less wealthy and vote for Democrats.
For what it’s worth, even in the disaster of 2010, nearly every Democrat received at least 34% of the vote. That’s been the issue all along with these polls, including the UT/Trib polls that operate under a similar model. If the pollsters are assuming an electorate similar to the one we had in 2010, then of course we’re going to get poll results like these. As we know, Democrats – specifically, the Davis campaign and Battleground Texas – are trying to change the turnout dynamic. Maybe they’ll succeed, and maybe they won’t. Maybe even if they succeed it only moves the needle a few points. Maybe Republicans will get the kind of turnout boost they got in 2010 and maybe they won’t. Maybe these pollsters are assuming something other than a 2010 scenario, though I doubt they’re very far off from that. After all this time I still don’t feel like we know what’s really happening in this race. dKos, which has a broader critique of the YouGov methodology, PDiddie, who has his own thoughts about the YouGov way, and Texpatriate have more.