Uncategorized

Internal Affair

Oct 8, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

And the Winner Is . . .

Oct 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

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,…

Debate and Switch

Oct 6, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

The Debate: Popping the Question

Oct 6, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Pease in Our Time

Oct 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Morning News: Perry 38, Strayhorn 18

Oct 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Reynolds Rapped

Oct 4, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Happy Trials: Strayhorn on the Rise

Oct 4, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Update: More Trouble for Condi, Bush, GOP

Oct 2, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Washington Times: Hastert Must Resign

Oct 2, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Rasmussen: The National Mood

Oct 2, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

SurveyUSA: More Approval Ratings

Sep 30, 2006 By Paul Burka

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:…

New Strayhorn Spot: “A Can of Soda”

Sep 30, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

In the Kink Texas

Sep 29, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Dew not Wait

Sep 29, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Remember the Sabato (Again)

Sep 29, 2006 By Paul Burka

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.”…

Perpetually Perry

Sep 29, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Newsweak on Ann

Sep 28, 2006 By Paul Burka

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…

Zogby: Perry 10 over Bell

Sep 28, 2006 By Paul Burka

The latest Zogby/Wall Street Journal/Battleground States poll–and I use the word with considerable misgivings, given its methodology of using a nonrandom sample gleaned from people who have signed online up to be interviewed–shows Perry with a double-digit lead over Bell: Perry 33.0%Bell 22.3%Friedman 18.9%Strayhorn 15.5%…

Margo Away

Sep 27, 2006 By Paul Burka

I think we’ve just about talked the Shapleigh-Margo race to death. In case anyone is interested in local observations from El Paso, there are two good pieces on a Web site called Newspaper Tree, both under the byline of Sito Negron. One article has an overview of the race…

Margo…Going…Gone?

Sep 27, 2006 By Paul Burka

Charles Kuffner, a fellow blogger, poses a good question in a comment about my item yesterday on the Eliot Shapleigh – Dee Margo battle for the El Paso Senate seat: “Losing Shapleigh (and … it ain’t going to happen) would be the tipping point. How exactly is Margo going…

The Biggest Race

Sep 26, 2006 By Paul Burka

It’s not the governor’s race. It’s not the race to succeed Tom DeLay in Congressional District 22. It’s not the Democrats’ effort to upset Henry Bonilla in Congressional District 23. The most important race in Texas is taking place about as far from the Capitol as you can get and…

Dunn Deal in District 22

Sep 25, 2006 By Paul Burka

Sometimes you get lucky. While I was working on my previous posting, I Googled “Opinion Associates,” the Austin firm that conducted a poll for the trial lawyers earlier this month. And what should pop up–don’t ask me why–but an intriguing story about the District 22 congressional race between Democrat…

A New Poll — and the New Spots

Sep 25, 2006 By Paul Burka

I had just about finished writing this posting about the latest TV spots in the governor’s race (except Perry’s, which I have already written about; see “Rick Perry on Our Schools,” below, posted September 20), when I heard about a brand new poll done by a respected Texas pollster (whom…

Little Middle

Sep 24, 2006 By Paul Burka

Checking out the electoral-vote.com Web site, I came across a chart that rated all senators on an ideological scale. It takes the ratings of eight organizations that rates lawmakers’ voting records in their area during 2004 and 2005 and averages the scores from each organizations. These are:ACLU –…

TLR’s Picks

Sep 22, 2006 By Paul Burka

Texans for Lawsuit Reform announced its endorsements for the fall elections Thursday, and while the vast majority of TLR’s choices were Republicans, four WD-40s in the Texas House of Representatives who face contested races received the influential organization’s nod: Mark Homer, Paris (50.22% in 2004); Chuck Hobson, Jacksonville, (52.7% in…

Rick Perry on Our Schools

Sep 20, 2006 By Paul Burka

Here is the text of Perry’s new TV spot on education. The governor does all the talking, on screen or in the background. “Public school funding, standards, and achievement are all up. I’m proud of Texas schools. Since I became governor, education funding has increaed nine billion dollars. We passed…

SurveyUSA: Bush’s Approval Ratings

Sep 19, 2006 By Paul Burka

SurveyUSA’s latest monthly tracking poll of President Bush’s approval ratings has Bush at 50% or better in only five states: Utah 59%Idaho 57%Wyoming 53%Nebraska 51%Texas 50% The weighted average for all fifty states is 39%. The weighted average is determined by factoring in each state’s…

SurveyUSA: Little Change in Governor’s Race

Sep 19, 2006 By Paul Burka

Perry Going Nowhere at 35%, But That May Be Just Enough To Win Re-Election. That’s SurveyUSA’s headline for its first poll of the governor’s race since June 26. The methodology involved interviews of 1,000 adults over a three-day period (September 16-18), 863 of whom were registered voters. From that…

Manipulating Zogby

Sep 19, 2006 By Paul Burka

The scientific weakness of the Zogby/Wall Street Journal/Battleground States poll, which I have posted about several times, is finally getting some scrutiny. The link is to a piece in the online version of the Columbia Journalism Review and mentions my criticism as well as that of Rutgers political science…

Perry “Proud”

Sep 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

I guess I must have wasted way too much time watching the Astros blow their chance at the playoffs, because now that I’ve given up on them, I’m seeing all sorts of political spots on TV. “Proud,” the latest Rick Perry spot, is very good, very professional, full of images…

Not So Kinky

Sep 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

I just saw Kinky Friedman’s “Good Shepherd” commercial for the first time. It’s one of the best political spots I have ever seen. Maybe the best. It is completely unexpected. Kinky’s voice is perfect. The Hill Country scenes are idyllic. His handling of the animals is loving and gentle. This…

Baby It’s Coal Outside

Sep 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

Is Governor Perry’s executive order of last fall, calling for expediting the hearing process for new power plants, many of them coal-fired, showing up on polls as a possible threat to Perry’s reelection? That would explain why a piece explaining his decision appears in the Dallas Morning News…

Comments on the Clips

Sep 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

From the Dallas Morning News: Bill Clinton, remembering Ann Richards, spoke at the Capitol yesterday, saying, “We loved her. We loved her because we knew she loved us, and because she made us bigger…. I love that she never gave up on Texas.” –Mr. Former President,…

Remembering Ann

Sep 15, 2006 By Paul Burka

When Ann Richards was born on September 1, 1933, the governor of Texas was a woman–Miriam “Ma” Ferguson. She was the wife of former governor James “Pa” Ferguson, who had been impeached in 1917. Ineligible to run for office himself, Pa had come up with the idea that Ma should…

Storming the Senate

Sep 13, 2006 By Paul Burka

Let’s break away from Texas politics to check out the race for control of the U.S. Senate, which currently has a 55-45 Republican majority. According to my favorite Web site for following national politics, www.electoral-vote.com, the current projection is for a 50-50 tie. If this were to be the…

Race for the Polls

Sep 12, 2006 By Paul Burka

It seems as if every conversation I had today (Tuesday), and about half of the e-mails, focused on poll methodology and accuracy. This spike of interest, of course, is due to the two polls released yesterday that showed Governor Perry falling below 35%. The San Antonio Express News ran a…

Perry Pared Again

Sep 11, 2006 By Paul Burka

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 RacePerry (R) 33%Strayhorn (I) 22%Bell (D) 18%Friendman (I) 16% Perry Favorable: August 54%, September 48%Strayhorn Favorable:…

Quote of the Day

Sep 11, 2006 By Paul Burka

“Texans don’t expect much from state government, and Rick Perry delivers what they expect.”–Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson, quoted by R. G. Ratcliffe in the Houston Chronicle.

Perry’s Lead Pared?

Sep 11, 2006 By Paul Burka

The latest Zogby/Wall Street Journal/Battleground States poll shows the governor’s race tightening significantly, to the point that Rick Perry is in dangerous territory. The numbers in parenthesis represent published reports about the recent poll conducted by Opinion Analysts, an Austin firm, for the Texas Trial Lawyers Association: Perry…

Trials and Tribulations

Sep 9, 2006 By Paul Burka

Finally we have a poll that can be believed. It was conducted by Opinion Analysts for Texans for Insurance Reform PAC, which is to say the trial lawyers, and was reported on the Houston Chronicle Web site. The results: Perry 41%, Strayhorn 14%, Bell and Friedman 13% each, and…

The Word on the 23rd

Sep 8, 2006 By Paul Burka

The following analysis of the 23rd congressional district race is a D.C. perspective by Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, which is one of the major Washington political newsletters, along with those of Charles Cook, Larry Sabato, and the National Journal (the Hotline). “Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX)…

Spot On

Sep 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

I saw the Strayhorn TV spots today. In both spots, she appears before a plain background, speaking directly to the audience. The ads have two common themes. One is an attack on “Austin.” The other is an effort to explain why she is running as an independent, without ever using…

Remember the Sabato

Sep 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

University of Virginia political savant Larry Sabato offers a good analysis of the governor’s race on his Crystal Ball newsletter on the Web: “A recent trip to Texas convinced the Crystal Ball that if the opposition to Gov. Rick Perry wasn’t split, it might actually prevail. Few voters…

See Spots Run

Sep 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

This was the day when Perry and Strayhorn unveiled their TV spots, to thunderous snores. No doubt the race will heat up, but the first round didn’t move the thermometer. Perry focused on border security. The video shows him walking high above the Rio Grande, with accompanied by a law…

Double Zero

Sep 3, 2006 By Paul Burka

I don’t get it. Why is Ciro Rodriguez back in the race against Henry Bonilla? He has lost his last two races for Congress. He has only $80,000 in his campaign account, compared to Bonilla’s $2 million. He put his political ineptitude on display by getting out of the race…

Ties that Unbind

Sep 3, 2006 By Paul Burka

What is the mood of the electorate on the eve of Labor Day, the date when the fall campaign season begins in earnest? One poll suggests a weakening of party ties may be a significant factor in the upcoming election. The poll was conducted in a legislative district that includes…

Shed a McTeer

Sep 1, 2006 By Paul Burka

The news that Bob McTeer will step down as chancellor of the Texas A&M system could help solve a lot of problems in Texas politics. The ideal candidate to replace him should be (1) a devoted Aggie who (2) knows his way around the Capitol and (3) needs long-term employment.

Zero

Aug 31, 2006 By Paul Burka

The question raised by Ciro Rodriguez’s apparent withdrawal from the District 23 race for Congress against Republican incumbent Henry Bonilla is whether the Democrats’ chances of beating Bonilla are better or worse without him. Rodriguez is a former congressman who was well known on San Antonio’s South Side, which is…

Not So Special

Aug 29, 2006 By Paul Burka

Governor Perry has called special elections to fill the unexpired terms of Tom DeLay in Congress, Frank Madla in the state Senate, and Vilma Luna in the Texas House of Represenatives, all of whom have resigned from the bodies to which they were elected. The special elections will be held…