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Politics & Policy |
October 30, 2006

Obama!

I heard Barack Obama speak at the annual book festival at the Capitol on Saturday. Attendance in the House Chamber was limited to people who had blue or red wrist bands, for seating on the floor or in the gallery, respectively. TEXAS MONTHLY had six of the coveted blue strips.

Politics & Policy |
October 26, 2006

No Warranty, Express or Implied, about…

…today’s hot rumor in the governor’s race.Which is, that Perry is falling and Strayhorn is rising. The source, apparently, is the Strayhorn campaign, which may release an internal poll tomorrow showing Strayhorn overtaking Bell in the race for second. Perry is in the low thirties, Strayhorn in the mid-twenties, and

Politics & Policy |
October 26, 2006

Check out the Election Spreadsheet

Please note the Texas-shaped icon on the right side of the main page of the blog. You can download an Excel file that contains all of the races above the county level–U.S. Senate and House, statewide offices, the two high courts, State Board of Education, and all 181 legislative races,

Politics & Policy |
October 25, 2006

Extra! Posting with Real Facts! Rumors Debunked!

Earlier in the day I mentioned the rumor that the Bell campaign had a poll showing their candidate just five points behind Perry (32%-27%). Not so, says Jason Stanford with the Bell campaign. He did state his belief that Perry’s ceiling has dropped to 35% of the vote. That’s what

Politics & Policy |
October 25, 2006

Is Perry in Trouble?

The Capitol was rife with rumors yesterday, one a revival of the persistent story that Strayhorn’s trial lawyer supporters were meeting to decide whether to persuade her to get out of the race and endorse Bell. Like all good rumors, this one had some specific information, such as where the

Politics & Policy |
October 25, 2006

Early Voting Squelched at San Antonio Campuses

Suppose you are Secretary of State Roger Williams, Texas’s chief elections officer. As early voting is about to begin, three universities in San Antonio want to be designated as early voting sites. One is the University of Texas at San Antonio, with 28,000 students. One is Trinity University, with around

Politics & Policy |
October 24, 2006

SurveyUSA: Perry, Bell, and Two Death Knells

The latest SurveyUSA poll in the governor’s race shows Bell pulling away from Strayhorn to make the governor’s race a two-person contest. This is the matchup Rick Perry wanted. What’s that old saying? Something about, Be careful what you wish for.Here are the results (466 likely voters, margin of error

Politics & Policy |
October 24, 2006

Wave vs. Wall

I came across this quote from a Democratic pollster on the Web site politicalwire.com, crediting another Web site, pollster.com. It neatly summarizes the race for the House of Representatives and suggests that any celebrating by the Democrats about taking over the House is premature:“There’s a big anti-Republican wave out

Politics & Policy |
October 23, 2006

Chicken

One of the perils of serving in Congress is that members lose touch with their constituents. They get arrogant. They forget–pardon me for being trite and idealistic; I know it’s unworthy of a member of the media–that they work for the people. Take the four congressmen who represent the Austin

Politics & Policy |
October 22, 2006

Express-News, Statesman Back Perry

The San Antonio Express-News and the Austin American Statesman both endorsed Rick Perry. The Express-News was the most enthusiastic of the three big-city papers that favored the incumbent governor (the Dallas Morning News being the third). It focused almost entirely on the governor’s record, particularly his leadership in solving

Politics & Policy |
October 22, 2006

Yawn: Morning News Likes Perry (sort of)

No surprise here, except that the endorsement of Perry is so lukewarm. These are the initial paragraphs of the editorial:“Rick Perry has focused his nearly six-year governorship on building Texas his way – protecting the business climate, attracting jobs, laying concrete.“The question for voters Nov. 7 is whether his focus

Politics & Policy |
October 22, 2006

Star-Telegram: “Time for a Balancing Act”

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram endorsed Chris Bell in the governor’s race. I confess to being flabbergasted. I thought it was as certain to endorse Rick Perry as the Dallas Morning News was. Here is the paper’s reasoning:“Texas government needs a change.“Ever since 2002’s scandal-plagued legislative elections, which were laced

Politics & Policy |
October 22, 2006

Election Eve Report

Early voting starts Monday. How does the governor’s race stand on election eve? The same way it has stood for months, with Rick Perry ahead but vulnerable and his three major challengers trying to break out of the pack but unable to do so.The four most crucial days in this

Politics & Policy |
October 21, 2006

Rocking the Swift Boat

Republicans are circulating on the Internet an article from Human Events by Texan John O’Neill, of Swift Boat Vets fame, urging conservatives not to let disillusionment prevent them from going to the polls on election day. (Human Events bills itself as “The National Conservative Weekly, the Weekly Standard notwithstanding.)

Politics & Policy |
October 20, 2006

SurveyUSA: 56% disapprove of Perry

SurveyUSA’s monthly tracking poll of the approval rating of all state governors, released October 19, shows Rick Perry with 40% approval and 56% disapproval. Only seven governors had approval ratings lower than Perry’s. Normally, such a high disapproval record would suggest that he is headed for defeat, but this is

Politics & Policy |
October 19, 2006

Chronicle: “Strayhorn for Governor”

The Houston Chronicle this morning endorsed Carole Keeton Strayhorn for governor. Editorial endorsements don’t carry the weight that they once did, and the Chronicle tends to be viewed by Republicans as a liberal paper, but they do carry some weight, particularly when they are unpredictable. (The sun would fail to

Politics & Policy |
October 19, 2006

Zogby: Independents Falter

The latest Zogby/Wall Street Journal/Battleground States Poll, released today, describes a governor’s race in which the major party candidates have broken away from the independents. The results:Perry 37.5%Bell 26.2%Friedman 13.2%Strayhorn 13.0%Werner (L) 3.9%The first question that should be asked about any Zogby poll is: Is it credible? Zogby does

Politics & Policy |
October 18, 2006

Texans for Insurance Reform: Bell up, Kinky down

A new Texans for Insurance Reform poll, by Austin-based Opinion Analysts, is being talked about but not officially public. The grapevine says that Perry remains in the mid-thirties, that Strayhorn and Bell are tied for second in the 20% range, and that Friedman has fallen into the high single digits,

Politics & Policy |
October 18, 2006

Karl’s Call

Today’s Washington Times has a story in which Karl Rove is quoted as telling the paper’s editors and reporters at a private luncheon that Republicans will hold onto their majorities in the House and Senate. This is a dog-bites-man story; it would be news if Rove had said anything

Politics & Policy |
October 18, 2006

Wave Goodbye

Everybody who follows national politics–except Karl Rove–“knows” that there is general agreement that a Democratic wave is going to sweep the Republicans out of control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Maybe I just got off the bus from Mars, but I don’t see it happening.Is it possible for the

Politics & Policy |
October 17, 2006

SurveyUSA: Bush’s Approval Ratings

Not good. The monthly tracking poll finds only four states in which the president’s approval rating is above the water line. AND TEXAS IS NOT ONE OF THEM.The short list:Idaho 57%Utah 57%Wyoming 52%Montana 50%Texas comes in at 45%, down from 50% in September. Nebraska, which also favored Bush last

Politics & Policy |
October 17, 2006

Chetmate, Part II

Stick a fork in Van Taylor. He’s done. The Associated Press is reporting, in a story datelined Washington, that Republicans have pulled the plug on his challenge to Chet Edwards in the 17th congressional district. The relevant paragraph:“Republican officials also appeared to have decided not to use more than

Politics & Policy |
October 17, 2006

Bell Chips In

Chris Bell put John O’Quinn’s $1 million contribution to good use with a hard-hitting TV spot (“Sacrifice”) about the mismanagement of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) by Accenture, the company that won the contract, worth approximately $1 billion, to administer eligibility and enrollment for state health and welfare services.

Politics & Policy |
October 16, 2006

Worst Case Scenarios

If you were a Texas Republican strategist in charge of devising the party’s overall strategy in this election, what would worry you the most? The answer is turnout. With the war in Iraq going badly and President Bush’s approval rating at 42% and the Mark Foley scandal still in the

Politics & Policy |
October 14, 2006

Bell Jarred

The $1 million contribution Chris Bell received from flamboyant plaintiffs lawyer John O’Quinn (with perhaps more to follow) came with some not-so-hidden-charges in the form of a tough response ad from the Perry campaign. Here is the text of the spot, narrated in voice-over mode:“Just when you thought it was

Politics & Policy |
October 13, 2006

Chetmate

The 17th congressional district, which takes in the southern Fort Worth suburbs, down to Waco, and east to Bryan-College Station, is the most Republican district in the country occupied by a Democrat. George W. Bush got 70% of the vote here in 2oo4. Nevertheless, incumbent Democrat Chet Edwards of Waco

Politics & Policy |
October 11, 2006

Rasmussen: Perry and the Pack

The new Rasmussen poll is more of same. They’re all going nowhere fast, but Perry is going nowhere faster than the rest.Perry 34%Strayhorn 21%Bell 19%Friedman 18%So much for that Strayhorn internal poll that had her at 28% to Perry’s 35%. Even if it was right, the debate put the kibosh

Politics & Policy |
October 10, 2006

Debate Matters: Update

As they say in Congress, I want to revise and extend my remarks about the viewership for the gubernatorial debate last Friday night (scroll down to “Debate Matters”).The Dallas Morning News reports, with considerable self-satisfaction, that the debate drew the highest rating in its time slot in three of

Politics & Policy |
October 10, 2006

Debate Matters

The conventional wisdom about the gubernatorial debate is that it wouldn’t matter because it was scheduled for a Friday night, competing with high school football and the baseball playoffs and Texas-OU weekend. But Belo, the sponsoring organization, promoted it big-time, and early indications are that the debate finished either first

Politics & Policy |
October 9, 2006

“Jobs” Climate: Cloudy

The new Perry spot, “Jobs,” which I viewed on the campaign Web site, seemed to be a notch or two below the quality I have come to expect of the Perry operation. The visual effects are boring boring boring. Perry is walking through what appears to be a high-tech

Politics & Policy |
October 8, 2006

Internal Affair

Late last week, the Strayhorn campaign released an internal poll purporting to show that their candidate had pulled within 7 points of Rick Perry, 28% to 35%. If this poll The Perry campaign fired back: “The first sure sign that a campaign is going in the tank is when they

Politics & Policy |
October 7, 2006

And the Winner Is . . .

Rick Perry won the debate. A debate is not like a track event; the constestants do not share the same starting position. Perry went into the debate as the clear frontrunner and, while he took some punches, he did nothing that would lose votes. He had only one rough moment,

Politics & Policy |
October 6, 2006

Debate and Switch

The most significant thing that happened in the debate for the gubernatorial candidates did not happen during the debate. It happened afterward. The debate had taken place in a room with no audience. Reporters sat in a foyer at a building in the Belo/Dallas Morning News complex, where they could

Politics & Policy |
October 6, 2006

The Debate: Popping the Question

Tonight is the governor’s race debate, in competition with the Texas-OU weekend, high school football, and the baseball playoffs. One of the features of the format is that each candidate has the opportunity to ask a question of another candidate. Who gets to question whom has been predetermined, and, as

Politics & Policy |
October 5, 2006

Pease in Our Time

I’m sure that many readers are dying to know the answer to this question: If Rick Perry wins the governor’s race with 35% of the vote, which is about his average standing in recent polls, will he post the lowest percentage of any governor in Texas history?And the answer is

Politics & Policy |
October 5, 2006

Morning News: Perry 38, Strayhorn 18

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

Politics & Policy |
October 4, 2006

Reynolds Rapped

In the ever-hotter battle for control of the House of Representatives, SurveyUSA has bad news for Republicans in a key race in upstate New York. GOP incumbent Tom Reynolds, the chairman of the Republican campaign committee and a member of the Republican leadership, has become enmeshed in the Mark Foley

Politics & Policy |
October 4, 2006

Happy Trials: Strayhorn on the Rise

Texans for Insurance Reform PAC has posted its latest poll by Opinion Analysts (Jeff Smith) of Austin. TIR is identified with the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. The poll involved 603 interviews with likely general election voters. The interviews were conducted September 28-October 2, which was during the period that

Politics & Policy |
October 2, 2006

Update: More Trouble for Condi, Bush, GOP

One of the political Web sites I check regularly is politicalwire.com. It is now carrying this story that substantiates charges made in Bob Woodward’s new book, State of Denial, that CIA director George Tenet briefed Condi Rice at the White House, two months before 9/11, that al Qaeda was

Politics & Policy |
October 2, 2006

Washington Times: Hastert Must Resign

Today may be the worst day for Republicans since the Watergate burglary. The combination of the Mark Foley page scandal and the unresolved questions about whether Condi Rice failed to tell the 9/11 Commission about a CIA warning that al Qaeda was planning a strike comes just five weeks before

Politics & Policy |
October 2, 2006

Rasmussen: The National Mood

Rasmussen has an interesting poll, not about specific races but about the general mood of the electorate. The surveys took place from mid-August to mid-September and involved 500 voters in 22 key states. This is a public opinion survey; I saw no indication that the field of respondents was

Politics & Policy |
September 30, 2006

SurveyUSA: More Approval Ratings

SurveyUSA tracks approval ratings for the president, all one hundred senators, and all fifty governors every thirty days. I posted earlier this month that President Bush’s approval rating in Texas was 50%. I failed to mention that his disapproval rate was 47%.Here’s how our senators fared:Hutchison: 60%

Politics & Policy |
September 30, 2006

New Strayhorn Spot: “A Can of Soda”

The new Strayhorn spot marks the beginning of what her campaign hopes is Phase II of the governor’s race–a gloves-off assault on Rick Perry’s record. In previous spots, Strayhorn has sniped at Perry; compared to them, this one is an howitzer barrage. It takes dead aim at Perry’s biggest

Politics & Policy |
September 29, 2006

In the Kink Texas

If you haven’t seen Eileen’s posting of a Kinky Friedman column, stop reading my blog (but just for a minute) and check out In the Pink Texas blog. This posting has 113 comments. I bet I haven’t had 113 comments total in the almost three months I have been

Politics & Policy |
September 29, 2006

Dew not Wait

When the sun rises on November 8, one election cycle will have finished and another will begin. With numerous potential candidates being mentioned for the 2010 governor’s race (David Dewhurst, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Roger Williams, Dan Patrick, Tony Garza, Don Evans) and others casting their eyes on offices that will

Politics & Policy |
September 29, 2006

Remember the Sabato (Again)

It isn’t often that one gets to use the same dumb headline (or so I was told) twice in a month, but this time it really works. Honest. Political prognosticator Larry Sabato has an article on his Crystal Ball Web site about “Dumb Questions for the 2008 Presidential Election.”

Politics & Policy |
September 29, 2006

Perpetually Perry

So the American Statesman has a story that Rick Perry may run again in 2010. Sure. And he’s probably already thinking how to bully Kay out of the race, too. Maybe he could promise her that he’ll quit in 2014. Or is it 2018?This is silly. It’s just a

Politics & Policy |
September 28, 2006

Newsweak on Ann

Newsweek’s writeup on the life of Ann Richards was a nice tribute, but it could have profited from some fact checking. “Richards was elected governor of Texas in 1990, upsetting the good-old-boy incumbent, Clayton Williams,” it said. I’m sure that comes as news to Bill Clements, who served as