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Politics & Policy |
September 28, 2006

Zogby: Perry 10 over Bell

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%This is consistent with most

Politics & Policy |
September 27, 2006

Margo Away

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

Politics & Policy |
September 27, 2006

Margo…Going…Gone?

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 to

Politics & Policy |
September 26, 2006

The Biggest Race

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

Politics & Policy |
September 25, 2006

Dunn Deal in District 22

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

Politics & Policy |
September 25, 2006

A New Poll — and the New Spots

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

Politics & Policy |
September 24, 2006

Little Middle

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 – American

Politics & Policy |
September 22, 2006

TLR’s Picks

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

Politics & Policy |
September 20, 2006

Rick Perry on Our Schools

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

Politics & Policy |
September 19, 2006

SurveyUSA: Bush’s Approval Ratings

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 share of U.S. population. The poll

Politics & Policy |
September 19, 2006

SurveyUSA: Little Change in Governor’s Race

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

Politics & Policy |
September 19, 2006

Manipulating Zogby

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

Politics & Policy |
September 18, 2006

Perry “Proud”

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

Politics & Policy |
September 18, 2006

Not So Kinky

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

Politics & Policy |
September 18, 2006

Baby It’s Coal Outside

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

Politics & Policy |
September 17, 2006

Comments on the Clips

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, you

Politics & Policy |
September 15, 2006

Remembering Ann

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

Politics & Policy |
September 13, 2006

Storming the Senate

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

Politics & Policy |
September 12, 2006

Race for the Polls

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

Politics & Policy |
September 11, 2006

Perry Pared Again

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: August 45%, September 53%Senate RaceHutchison (R) 58%Radnofsky

Politics & Policy |
September 11, 2006

Quote of the Day

“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.

Politics & Policy |
September 11, 2006

Perry’s Lead Pared?

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 (R)

Politics & Policy |
September 9, 2006

Trials and Tribulations

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

Politics & Policy |
September 8, 2006

The Word on the 23rd

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) is

Politics & Policy |
September 7, 2006

Spot On

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

Politics & Policy |
September 5, 2006

Remember the Sabato

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 we

Politics & Policy |
September 5, 2006

See Spots Run

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 enforcement

Politics & Policy |
September 3, 2006

Double Zero

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

Politics & Policy |
September 3, 2006

Ties that Unbind

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

Politics & Policy |
September 1, 2006

Shed a McTeer

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.

Politics & Policy |
August 31, 2006

Zero

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

Politics & Policy |
August 29, 2006

Not So Special

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

Politics & Policy |
August 28, 2006

Zogby Weighs In

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

Politics & Policy |
August 27, 2006

Call from McCaul

After a summer of writing about automated telephone polls, I received such a call myself on Friday night. The first questions all involved Republican Congressman Michael McCaul of Austin, in whose district I reside, and were pretty standard (Did I plan to vote? Would I vote for McCaul?).

Politics & Policy |
August 25, 2006

Heard from the 23rd

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a major PR/politics/polling firm based in Washington and San Francisco, recently (August 10-15) conducted a poll in the 23rd congressional district. Here are the results of the telephone survey of 405 likely voters (margin of error: +/- 4.9%):Henry Bonilla 44% (incumbent Republican)Ciro Rodriguez 24% (former congressman in

Politics & Policy |
August 25, 2006

DeLay in DeNial

“I’m very disappointed in our justice system. There doesn’t seem to be any justice.”–Tom DeLay, yesterday, on Houston’s KTRK-TV.DeLay was referring, of course, to a series of rulings barring the Republican Party of Texas from declaring him ineligible to run as the Republican nominee for Congress from District 22 and

Politics & Policy |
August 24, 2006

Survey Useless

From a source close to the Perry campaign comes this e-mail about the methodology used by Survey USA in determining that the governor’s approval rating has slipped by 9 points since the previous poll. (See “Poll Axed,” August 22, below). This will not be entirely new to dedicated readers, both

Politics & Policy |
August 24, 2006

A Third for the 23rd

The race for the 23rd congressional district gained a new entrant today. Lukin Gilliland, a San Antonio rancher and investor, joined incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla and former Democratic congressman Ciro Rodriguez in the battle to represent the megadistrict that stretches west along Interstate 10, and up the Rio Grande, all

Politics & Policy |
August 23, 2006

So Solly

The District 33 (Corpus Christi) blog is back in session. I was part of a small group who met today with Solomon Ortiz Jr., the Democratic nominee to replace Vilma Luna and the subject of much commentary from readers (see “Split Decision,” below). He has scads of boyish charm and

Politics & Policy |
August 22, 2006

D as in Denial

I never expected a post on an obscure Corpus Christi legislative race (See “Split Decision,” below) to generate so many comments. The anger of Democrats boiled over at my suggestion that the Republicans could win the seat in the heavily Democratic district due to a split in the Democratic party,

Politics & Policy |
August 22, 2006

Poll Axed

Just in: the latest Survey USA poll on the approval rating of all governors. It is not good news for Rick Perry. Since the last poll on August 6, Perry’s approval rating has declined from 52% to 43%, while his disapproval rate has done exactly the reverse–climb from 43%

Politics & Policy |
August 22, 2006

Hecht Maybe

I herewith offer these thoughts on the Nathan Hecht controversy–he is appealing his admonition by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for his public support of the nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court last year–as red meat for the critics.Here is a summary of the case from

Politics & Policy |
August 21, 2006

Split Decision

When Corpus Christi state representative Vilma Luna decided to give up her legislative seat in July to take a lobbying job in Austin with Hillco Partners, the Democratic party had every reason to believe that the seat would remain in the party’s column. The Republicans had not fielded a candidate

Politics & Policy |
August 18, 2006

Interpreting the Polls

A friend who takes issue with my recent posts (“Main Event” and “Main Event, the Post-Mortem,” in which I asserted that the thwarting of the terrorist plot at Heathrow Airport would benefit the Republicans in the midterm elections, has been bombarding me with e-mailed poll results showing that, so far,

Politics & Policy |
August 17, 2006

We Approve

Survey USA came out with a new poll yesterday about the president’s state-by-state approval rating. Texas is fifth highest (54%) behind Idaho (59%), Wyoming (58%), Utah (57%), and Nebraska (55%). The only other states where Bush scored at least 50% were Alabama, Montana, North Dakota, and Oklahoma? Can

Politics & Policy |
August 17, 2006

Grand Old Parting of the Ways

Those fratricidal Republicans are at it again. Earlier this month, the Dallas Morning News finally got state GOP executive director Jeff Fisher to acknowledge what everybody knew, which was that a 2005 telephone poll to determine the level of support of several “moderate” (that is, conservative, as opposed to

Politics & Policy |
August 16, 2006

Reid It and Weep

Let’s try reposting this. Apparently some readers were too harried to check out the link for this story [hint, guys, click here] from August 5 Las Vegas Sun and didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. As far as I can tell, the Texas media missed this

Politics & Policy |
August 15, 2006

Has-Ben

When this blog started in early July, rumors were rife that Ben Bentzin, the Republican nominee in Texas House District 48 (West Austin) against Democrat Donna Howard, would withdraw from the race. Several GOP sources told me that was not the case, which I posted, which a couple of e-mailers

Politics & Policy |
August 12, 2006

Main Event, the Post-Mortem

In “Main Event,” which I posted yesterday, I argued that the news of the terrorist bombing plots would work to the Republicans’ advantage in the fall elections. Four of the six readers who posted comments took issue with the post, as did our editor, Evan Smith, who told me

Politics & Policy |
August 11, 2006

Main Event

When you look at the ocean, it appears to be immutable and everlasting. But it is subject to forces beyond its control. Small changes occur because of the tides. Great changes occur because of tropical storms. So it is with politics. We think we know how it is shaping up,