This poll on the Texas Senate race appeared on the Web site of the well known liberal blog Daily Kos, which bills itself as “the premier political community in the United States,” with 600,000 visits a day. That’s a few more than this site, give or take 595,000 visits. Daily Kos commissioned the poll from Maryland-based Research 2000, a firm that describes itself as “the Nation’s most unbiased and reliable research firm.” The Daily Kos correspondent comments, “[F]or the record, Research 2000 is an independent polling outfit that does work for newspapers all over the country. This isn’t a ‘partisan’ poll or pollster.”

Here are some of the highlights:


Very favorable 25%
Favorable 21%
Unfavorable 22%
Very unfavorable 22%
No opinion 10%

Job Approval

Strongly approve 22%
Approve 23%
Disapprove 20%
Strongly disapprove 24%
Not sure 11%

These numbers (45% approve, 44% disapprove) are not too different from the June SurveyUSA numbers, the last that are available for Texas senators (43% approve, 44% disapprove).

Cornyn vs. Noriega

Repondents were asked, “If 2008 election for U.S. Senate were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Rick Noriega, the Democrat, and John Cornyn, the Republican? (Mikal Watts was not included in the poll.) Cornyn came in just above the water line:

Cornyn 51%
Noriega 35%
Undecided 14%

The poll also tested Cornyn’s general electability. Respondents were asked, “If the 2008 election for U.S. Senate were held today, would you to reelect John Cornyn, would you consider voting for another candidate, or would you vote to replace Cornyn?”

Re-elect 40%
Consider 15%
Replace 35%
Not sure 10%

These results are close to the Rasmussen Poll I posted on September 18:

Cornyn 52% Watts 28%
Cornyn 53% Noriega 30%

What conclusions can be drawn from all this? Here’s what Daily Kos has to say: “Those reelect numbers are anemic as all hell, and while he’s above that ’50 percent’ mark, he doesn’t have much room to spare. The ‘Noriega’ and ‘Replace’ numbers line up perfectly. It looks like the race will be all about peeling that ‘consider someone else’ bloc away from Cornyn.”

I’ll go this far: These are not the kind of numbers I’d want to go into an election with. Half of the respondents don’t view Cornyn favorably. Half the respondents don’t think he’s doing a good job. Beyond the numbers, he’s going to be accused of being close, perhaps too close, to George W. Bush and Karl Rove. In his favor, Texas is still a Republican state; he’s going to have all the money he needs; his Democratic opponents are unknown; and the Democratic nominee will probably be running on a ticket headed by Hillary Clinton.

In 2002, Cornyn won the Senate race with 55.29% of the vote to Ron Kirk’s 43.32%, or about 540,000 votes. This year, I think his max is around 52%.