Wed June 24, 2009 9:50 am

Here are the numbers. Commentary follows.

Approval Ratings
Obama as president
Approve 68% Disapprove 29%

Obama economic policy
Approve 63% Disapprove 34%

Rick Perry
Approve 57% Disapprove 30%

Kay Bailey Hutchison
Approve 65% Disapprove 17%

John Cornyn
Approve 55% Disapprove 19%

Texas Legislature
Approve 58% Disapprove 28%

Democratic Primary (Governor)
Kinky 10%
Schieffer 6%
Van de Putte 3% (withdrawn)

U.S. Senate
White (D) 9%
Dewhurst (R) 4%
Abbott (R) 4%
Ames Jones (R) 3%
R Williams (R) 3%
Sharp (D) 2%
Shapiro (R) 2%
M Williams (R) 2%

* * * *

I don’t think these numbers are good for Perry. Forget the 12-point lead. The number that jumps out is 33%. That’s all? This is a lower percentage than he got in the 2006 general election, when he famously won with 39%. Undecideds represent a plurality. And the respondents supposedly represent Republican primary voters. (I say “supposedly” because the support for gay unions in yesterday’s issues poll was very high – in the upper fifties – considering the overwhelming support for the constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage. Furthermore, according to the poll’s methodology, the sample for Republican primary voters was very small – 267 – and had a MOE of +/- 6.04%.) In the Rasmussen poll earlier this year, around the time of the secession flap, Perry had a 42-38 lead over Hutchison.

Other numbers seem unfavorable for Perry as well. He has based his campaign on making Hutchison the candidate of Washington and positioning himself as the candidate of Texas. He’s been hammering away at “Washington” since September, and at Kay “Bailout” Hutchison, but Obama’s approval rating in Texas is way up there, similar to what it is nationally. Hutchison is in the stratosphere at 65% favorable to 17% unfavorable. That is going to be hard for him to tear down. Perry’s own favorables are the best they have ever been, but he is the incumbent, and the election is going to be about him – unless he can somehow manage to redefine her. It’s hard to redefine someone with a miniscule 17% disapproval rating.

The Democratic gubernatorial primary and the U.S. Senate race are too speculative to comment on. The only number of interest is White’s lead over Sharp, but since everyone is in single digits, and the race won’t exist unless Hutchison resigns her seat, it is hardly worth mentioning.

Survey information

The 2009 Texas Lyceum Poll is a telephone-based multi-stage cluster sample of
Texas adults. Telephone coverage within the state of Texas is approximately 97%.
Randomized selection procedures were assiduously followed throughout the
process, even at the level of selecting individuals within the household. The final
sample size is 860 adult Texans. The instrument itself relies on questions that
have been used previously in national polls, and have been shown to be both
valid (correlating with plausible independent and dependent variables) and
reliable (robust to question order and interviewer effects). A Spanish version of
the instrument was developed and respondents were given a choice of
participating in English or Spanish. Bilingual interviewers were utilized, and
approximately 146 interviews (17% of the sample) were completed in Spanish.
The overall response rate (completed interviews/contacts) is 38%. This rate is
partially the result of an extended time in the field, which facilitated call-backs.
The overall margin of error for the sample is +/- 3.34 percentage points at the
95% confidence level. The data used to generate top-lines and tables are
weighted by U.S. Census Bureau estimates with respect to age, gender, and race.
For example, Census data indicate the proportion of 18-29 year old Hispanic
females in Texas, and we use these estimates to weight the survey data. As
expected, the most significant weights are applied to young, male, minority
respondents (who are under-represented here, as they are in almost all polls in
the U.S.).

Primary election items are asked of those who said they were “certain” or “likely”
to vote in that party’s primary. Based on this, 267 respondents were asked about
their preferences in the Republican primary, and 255 respondents were asked
about their preferences in the Democratic primary. The margins of error for the
ballot items are +/- 6.04 and +/- 6.14 percentage points, respectively. All 860
respondents were asked their preferences for the U.S. Senate election.

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