The latest Zogby/Wall Street Journal poll shows Perry leading with 34.8%, which is consistent with recent polls. Bell (23.1%) and Friedman (22.7%) are in a virtual dead heat for second. Strayhorn has only 9.6%, a disastrous showing.

The story has been circulating for a couple of weeks that the big Strayhorn supporters have seen polls showing their candidate lagging in the polls and are contemplating switching their support to Bell. I have resisted blogging about it because my original source was close to Perry, but then a Democratic lobbyist (yes, a few still exist in Austin) told me that a client of his had paid for a poll that showed Strayhorn in third place.

In the Senate race, Zogby showed Hutchison over Radnofsky by 54.6% to 37.3%. A Rasmussen poll earlier this month had Hutchison ahead 61-31. That sounds more like it to me.

Zogby’s methodology is very questionable, in my opinion. Here is the Zogby organization’s description. Notice that the words “likely voters” are conspicuously absent.

“Zogby Interactive of Utica, N.Y. has assembled a database of individuals who have registered to take part in online polls through solicitations on the company’s Web site as well as other Web sites that span the political spectrum. Individuals who registered were asked to provide personal information such as home state, age and political party to Zogby.

“Zogby International telephoned about 2% of respondents who completed the interactive survey to validate their personal data. To solicit participation, Zogby sent emails to individuals who had asked to join its online-polling database, inviting them to complete an interactive poll. Many individuals who have participated in Zogby’s telephone surveys also have submitted e-mail addresses so they may take part in online polls.

“The Interactive polls were supplemented by 20 to 50 telephone calls in 19 states (AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MD, MI, MO, NV, NM, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, TX, VA, WI) to ensure proper representation of all demographic groups. In Connecticut, 180 phone calls were used to supplement the Interactive polls.

“Margins of error for each candidate vary by state and range between 3.0 and 4.4 percentage points.”