Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tex Trib poll winners: "Don't know"

The Texas Tribune polls a whole lot of undecided voters. They made the lede, though, all about Rick Perry's ineptitude.

It's a good thing Rick Perry says he's not running for president — only 4 percent of Texas Republicans say they'd vote for the governor, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

"This is a major question for a guy who's getting national buzz," says Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a government professor at UT. "He hasn't convinced Texans that he's a presidential front-runner."

Not that he's trying to. Perry has said repeatedly that he's not a presidential candidate without squelching campaigns to draft him as one.

Perry's not even the top-rated Texan in the race. That distinction gos to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, who's at 10 percent among registered voters who say they will vote in the Republican primary. The leader of the pack — and it's a narrow lead in a pack without a clear front-runner — is former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, at 12 percent, followed by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, at 11 percent, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 10 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota each have the support of 7 percent, followed by celebrity businessman Donald Trump, 6 percent; Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, 4 percent; former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, 3 percent; and Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah, at 1 percent each.

One in 10 Republican voters want someone else, and 14 percent say they don't know whom they'd vote for in a GOP primary held today. Several of the candidates on that list, including Huckabee, Trump and Daniels, have dropped out since poll was conducted.

So Rick Perry came in nearly last, and "Don't Know" came in first, barely ahead of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. Recall that a GOP activist who regularly comments here said he "didn't know anyone who was supporting Gingrich". Someone is obviously wrong. And another embarrassing part for the Trib: they conducted their poll in the middle of Trump's meltdown, Gingrich's disastrous rollout, and Huckabee and Daniels both announcing they were not getting in the race.

The US Senate polling makes no more sense than this, either. It also has "Don't Know" winning ... in a landslide.

On the Republican side, 50 percent say they don't know how they'd vote; 7 percent say they're looking for someone not on our list. As for the list, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is the leader, with 25 percent, followed by former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, at 6 percent; former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul of Austin, 4 percent each; former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz and former Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams, 2 percent; and Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, 1 percent.

The Democrats have even more undecided voters, at 63 percent. The newest candidate in that conversation, retired Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, led the way, with 14 percent, followed by former U.S. Reps. Chet Edwards of Waco, 11 percent, and Chris Bell of Houston, at 7 percent; and former state Comptroller John Sharp, at 6 percent.

There is the first time I have seen McCaul's name mentioned in the contest to replace Kay Bailey that was speculation more significant than two drunk Republicans in a bar on 290. But he's one of two on that list (Dewhurst is the other) that can self-fund a $25 million Senate contest. Leppert and Cruz have already bragged about raising in excess of a million bucks each; Williams and Williams are just under that figure.

Bell likely isn't running for Senator, either; Sharp cancelled his fund-raising committee and let his Sharp for Senate domain comically expire months ago. There's no groundswell for Edwards that this blogger is aware of.  Only Sanchez -- whose campaign kick-off has been nearly as bad as Gingrich's -- is in and I surmise will remain the only serious entrant.

But really, why didn't they just throw Bill White's name up against the wall to see if it would stick?

When you're just pulling names out of your ass a hat, you're not seriously "polling the electorate". Whether because of past questionable methodology or plain old bad luck in timing, these Trib polls continue to reveal next to nothing of value.

They do, however, solidly reinforce the prevailing, decades-long narrative: that Democratic resistance is futile in this state. The GOP can screw up everything in Texas but their hold on a poorly-informed, brain-washed majority remains firm. In other words, the future remains grim.

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