When in doubt, produce an internal poll
Wed May 30, 2012 4:23 pm

I can’t believe the Dewhurst campaign resorted to the old internal poll gimmick. Accrording to the Statesman, Mike Baselice has written a memo indicating why Dewhurst will defeat Ted Cruz in the runoff for U.S. senator:

Recent internal campaign polling found that Dewhurst has a 65 percent favorable rating compared to 40 percent for Cruz, Baselice wrote. And Dewhurst is heavily preferred by voters who backed former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, the third-place finisher.

With 85 percent of the precincts reporting, Dewhurst was leading with about 45 percent of the vote while Cruz had nearly 34 percent. Baselice said that number bodes will for Dewhurst.

“While we should expect a normal post-election tightening of numbers, history demonstrates why Dewhurst is in a strong position to become U.S. Senator: every Republican candidate with over 43 percent going into a statewide runoff during the last 20 years has gone on to win,” Baselice wrote.

Well, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twenty times, shame on me. The Dewhurst campaign has made too many claims about why a Dewhurst victory was inevitable without backing them up. The only poll that matters is the one that will be taken on July 31.

That Dewhurst has a higher favorable rating than Cruz might have been important several months ago. It’s not important any more. And the argument that every Republican candidate with over 43 percent going into a statewide runoff during the last 20 years has gone on to win cuts no ice with me either. It’s like saying that the sun is a two-to-0ne favorite to shine on a clear day. But what if it is a cloudy day?

Doesn’t the Dewhurst camp realize that this ploy is not going to persuade anybody of anything, except that there is panic in the Dewhurst camp?

I think the Dewhurst team made some bad decisions down the stretch. One was the anti-Cruz amnesty ad. It had no credibility, and it was gratuitously mean. Another was aligning himself with Rick Perry. Maybe Baselice ought to be polling what Perry’s favorables and unfavorables are these days, and just exactly what the governor’s endorsement is worth. I daresay a Perry endorsement for Dewhurst is break-even at best. Do they think everyone has forgotten the presidential race?

Nor do I think it was wise to run an attack ad against Leppert right before the primary in an effort to drive down Leppert’s vote total. Dewhurst needs Leppert’s endorsement in the run-off.

Having the lead is an asset in this race, and Dewhurst has it. But shenanigans like this will only serve to further undercut his credibility.

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