What follows is a poll taken in mid-October, just before the start of early voting in the November 2 general election. It was conducted for three trade associations (the Texas Medical Association, the Farm Bureau, and the Texas Civil Justice League) by a firm that has been doing polling for many years. The sample was 1,200 voters, and the margin of error was 2.9%. It was conducted for First, a one-question quiz. No peeking. What Texas politician has the highest favorability rating? Remember, this was right before the election, when Rick Perry and Bill White were on TV every day. #1 Kay Bailey Hutchison 56% favorable, 25% unfavorable (+31%) #2 John Cornyn: 43% favorable, 21% unfavorable (+22%) #3 Bill White 41% favorable, 32% unfavorable (+9%) #4 Rick Perry 42% favorable, 38% unfavorable (+4%) Hutchison has regained most of what she lost in her primary race against Perry, which she began with a favorability in the 60s. As for Perry, this tells you that the voters don’t really like him; he barely has a net positive favorability rating. Remember, this poll was taken right before an election during which he spent bazillions of dollars, and the best he could do was +4%. But they vote for him anyway, because they know he won’t raise taxes or spend a lot of money, and that’s the main thing they care about. And what about Joe Straus, the speaker, who is in the center of the storm over whether he is or is not a true conservative? 9% favorable, 7% unfavorable, 8% don’t know. For all the furor of the speakers’ race, nobody knows who he is. More results: Most important issues: 1. Illegal immigration 32% 2. Jobs and the economy 25% 3. Quality of public education 14% 4. Health care costs 8% 5. Property taxes 6% (rest of list omitted) This is nuts. Illegal immigration is more important than jobs and the economy? More on issues 1. Arizona-style immigration reforms 64% for, 30% against, 6% undecided 2. Foreign ownership of toll roads 14% for, 81% against, 5% undecided 3. Amnesty for illegal aliens who hold jobs 41% for, 53% against, 7% undecided 4. Casino gambling 49% for, 45% against, 5% undecided 5. Casino gambling only at racetracks 31% for, 63% against, 6% undecided 6. American citizenship for aliens born in the U.S. 41% yes, 56% no, 4% undecided 7. Abortion: 28% allow in all circumstances; 47% allow in cases of rape, incest, health of the mother; 17% not allow in any circumstances Palin vs. Obama Palin 50% Obama 36% Undecided 14% Watch Fox News Often 42% Sometimes 36% Rarely 14% Most of the findings in the poll are not very surprising. The biggest news is Hutchison’s recovery half a year after getting drubbed by Perry. Perhaps she is a viable candidate for reelection in 2012 after all. The incentive for her to come back is (1) Republicans stand a good chance to win back the Senate because 23 Democratic seats are up for reelection but only 13 Republican seats, and (2) If she wins reelection, she is in line to become chair of the powerful Commerce committee, which, among other things, oversees the oil and gas industry. But she has very little cash on hand and is going to have to raise a lot of money if she is going to win again. This will not be an easy race. The tea party has her in its sights.