Way, way back when Governor Rick Perry was still running for president, North Carolina’s Public Policy Polling teased a detail from its January Texas voter survey:
Random finding on our Texas poll: people in the state absolutely hate Jerry Jones
— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) January 17, 2012
The Democratic polling organization has long since released most of the pertinent numbers from that survey, including now-moot presidential election speculation and oft-cited Republican U.S. Senate primary numbers (including Craig James’s mysterious lack of popularity with SMU fans). But they held back on that Jones tidbit and other random facts until Friday’s release.
So what was Jerry Jones’s number? Fourteen, as in, a whopping fourteen percent of Texas voters have a favorable opinion of him, compared to 48 percent who hold an unfavorable opinion.
“I’m pretty sure that -34 spread represents the worst poll numbers we’ve ever found for someone in Texas,” wrote PPP director Tom Jensen.
Of course, you’re dealing with not one but two robust constituencies here: Cowboys fans who dislike Jerry Jones and people who dislike the Cowboys.
By comparison, Perry’s approval rating in the same poll was 42 percent.
Also more beloved was Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, with a 29 percent favorable rating. Not surprisingly, the love-him-or-hate-him owner of the defending NBA champs Dallas Mavericks had almost the exact same unfavorable rating: 28 percent.
The poll also asked voters to pick directly between Cuban and Jones. In that case, the guy who recently bought his team championship rings came out ahead of the guy who hasn’t done that since 1996, 34-22.
Other interesting tidbits:
- It seems the average Texan never really cared that much about (or just got tired of) the Mike Leach v. Craig James saga. Seventy-two percent answered “not sure” when asked if they had a more favorable opinion of the former Texas Tech coach or the former ESPN broadcaster (and now Senate candidate), with the remaining people splitting down the middle, fourteen to fourteen.
- Only 36 percent of those surveyed had an opinion about Baylor quarterback and reigning Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III, while 66 percent had one about the Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow.
- Tebow also trounced RG3 in favorability, 55-32. “That says a lot about the relative popularity/exposure of professional vs. college sports,” suggested Jensen. Or maybe Tebow benefitted from Rick Perry’s name-dropping.
- Among college football fans, the Longhorns are more popular than the Aggies, 23 percent to fourteen percent.
- Baylor was the only other school in double digits with ten percent. Rice and Texas State were both relegated to the “another school” category.
- Jensen: “Democrats overwhelmingly prefer Texas over Texas A&M 23-8, while Republicans split evenly at 21%.”
- Democratic fans also (narrowly) preferred Baylor, Houston and UTEP, while SMU, TCU, and Tech were more narrowly Republican.
A PDF of the complete poll can be read here.