Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Texas Watch Poll (09/07/2010)

An interesting data point...

A statewide public opinion survey conducted by Republican polling firm Hill Research Consultants on behalf of the Texas Watch Foundation reveals an electorate divided between incumbent Republican Governor Rick Perry (42%) and Democratic challenger Bill White (41%), with a significant bloc of voters (14%) still uncommitted to either candidate. Additionally, across partisan, ideological and geographic lines, broad support is expressed for homeowners’ insurance reform proposals.

Full results (with crosstabs) here. Full questionnaire (with results) here.

If you remember, Hill Research Consultants is the professional "day job" location of David Benzion, one-time (still?) publisher of conservative Blog Lone Star Times, AFTER Sen. Patrick lost interest in the project that is.

The point I'm making is that this is hardly a Democratic shop posting a result that's unfriendly to Perry.

The question now is whether or not this result is an outlier, or if public opinion has really shifted all that much from a few weeks ago?

Edited to add:

Judging from the comments my last point (whether or not this was an outlying result or if public opinion had really moved that far) has been misunderstood to mean that I somehow believe the gubernatorial race is close based on these results. The point I thought important was that this is a Republican shop that released the results, if you look in the comments Kevin Whited makes the point that this poll wasn't designed to be an accurate predictor of the Gubernatorial race. There were no voter screens applied etc. My question regarding the questions were meant to reflect that, but obviously it was clumsily worded and should have gone into much more detail.

In other words: There are many questions about the Gubernatorial race that this poll was not designed to answer. That doesn't make it a bad survey, just one with an odd headline considering the results trumpeted doesn't seem to be the aim. It raises more questions than it answers.

Again: See Dr. Whited's comment for more on this.

Sorry for the confusion.


  1. Compare that with this prediction from a Democrat polling group.

    or Rasmussen from last week.

  2. I don't think I would call it an outlier necessarily (I do think many of the undecideds are leaners), but I also don't think it's a poll INTENDED truly to measure the gubernatorial horserace. Hill is meticulous, and I think he would have designed a much different poll if that were his intent.

    Rather, this is a poll commissioned by a client designed to survey voter attitudes about a pet initiative of that client's. Hill is known for this sort of polling, and I have no doubt he's done a good job* (as usual) measuring those attitudes.

    I look for the state's lackluster political media entirely to gloss over that fact, but I think it's actually fairly significant. Indeed, I would say one reason Hill goes out of his way NOT to push leaners is so that he can gauge how their "lean" might be affected by his client's proposals. That's good survey design in terms of his client's needs, but its utility in terms of the gubernatorial race is more limited.

    * That said, the revelation (!) that no constituency believes their insurance rates too low is so insipid that it's surprising to see it on Hill leaderhead.

  3. Makes sense, but what's going to be shot out across the media is that the race is even. I'm not so sure this poll reveals that. Still, Hill brought a lot of this on himself by trumpeting the Gubernatorial race results in the headline.

    (Also, 538 is not a polling shop....Nate agregates polls but he doesn't design and conduct them)

  4. 538's analysis is GARBAGE because it aggregated a bunch of Rasmussen polls and that Republican poll put out by Karl Rove's old buddy.

    If Republicans want to keep tricking themselves that they are crushing Bill White, go ahead. This race is 5-6 points MAX. There is a Republican enthusiasm advantage, but that is a national trend. Rick Perry is despised by large, very large portions of the Republican party.

    When it says 14% are undecided that is a VERY VERY VERY bad number for Rick Perry. People know him, like 98% of the state. If someone hasn't decided on a candidate, it's not because they are waiting on Rick Perry, they are waiting on Bill White.

    Bill White will win this race by 3 points due to Rick Perry's divisive leadership and his heated primary. When you burn your house down, you gotta live in the ashes.

  5. Actually, that's almost entirely NOT what 538 is doing. See a thorough analysis of that here:



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