A poll conducted for the Dallas Morning News shows Perry with a twenty-point lead over his nearest challenger. The poll taker was New York-based Blum&Weprin Associates, which lists the Houston Chronicle and the Morning News among its clients. The poll surveyed 828 likely voters and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.
The most important number in this poll is that it has Perry getting 42% of the Hispanic vote. Previous polls have consistently shown Perry in the 30s. Is this the result of a special effort by an excellent campaign organization, or is it indicative of a long-term trend in Texas politics, that the old-style party loyalty appeals of the Democrats are falling on deaf ears? Undoubtedly both factors are at work. But I think that the Democrats have been very slow to grasp the implications of the economic and ideological diversification of the Hispanic vote. Of course, it’s hard for the “Democrats” to grasp anything, since there is no effective Democratic organization in this state outside of Travis County.
The old style of Democratic politics–expecting candidates to provide “walking around money” to local jefes, choosing sides in battles between local clans such as we saw in Corpus Christi between the Ortiz and Noyola families, paying off operatives who claim to be able to deliver votes, say, from nursing homes–is repulsive to a younger, more affluent generation. The Republican party’s social agenda on issues like abortion and gay marriage is much more in line with Hispanic families than the Democrats’ position. The Democrats still have an advantage in issues like the support of public education and children’s health, but the old corrupt political style is killing them.