Thanks to the Quorum Report for posting the results of the latest Rasmussen Poll, which was taken before Perry and Strayhorn spots hit the airwaves after Labor Day:

Governor’s Race
Perry (R) 33%
Strayhorn (I) 22%
Bell (D) 18%
Friendman (I) 16%

Perry Favorable: August 54%, September 48%
Strayhorn Favorable: August 45%, September 53%

Senate Race
Hutchison (R) 58%
Radnofsky (D) 32%

A fella could get confused pretty easily by these polls, almost all of which seem to have a couple of unexplainable numbers. The Zogby/Wall Street Journal/Battleground States poll, which appeared earlier today, shows Perry with 30.7% and Strayhorn with just 11.1% (see “Perry’s Lead Pared?” below). A few days ago, a poll by Austin-based Opinion Analysts had Perry way out front at 41% and Strayhorn second at 14%, with Bell and Friedman another point back. How can the Zogby and Opinion Analysts numbers be reconciled with 22% in the Rasmussen poll? What has Perry done to lose 6 points off his favorable rating in a month, other than try to sell a state park or two, and what has Strayhorn done to gain 9?

Unlike Zogby and Survey USA, which rely on Internet voting and a small number of phone calls, Rasmussen has a credible methodology, surveying 500 likely voters. Zogby caught the decline in Perry’s numbers but completely missed Strayhorn’s resurgence. Zogby’s call of the Senate race (Hutchison 47.8%, Radnofsky 36.8%) also seems off the mark; no way the race is this close. The Internet polls ought to be labeled, “For Amusement Only.”

For Strayhorn, the Rasmussen poll couldn’t have been better timed. It should slam the lid on persistent rumors that some of Strayhorn’s financial backers might defect to Bell if her prospects didn’t improve. It comes at a point in the campaign when she is on TV and her two rivals for the anti-Perry vote aren’t, due to a lack of funds. She has a chance to solidify her position as Perry’s principal challenger. And, depending upon how the race develops, it may force Perry into attacking Strayhorn, always a dicey prospect for a male candidate opposed by a woman (although Perry has never been one to shy away from an attack–just ask Tony Sanchez).