Texas Governor's Race: Average of 11 Public Polls in 2010 Show Rick Perry at 47%, Bill White at 40%

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The Texas Tribune has released their latest poll, which shows Rick Perry at 44%, Bill White at 35%. Two key points to highlight from the poll:

  • Rick Perry, a ten-year incumbent, remains under 50% in the Tribune poll. That means that the only head-to-head polls to show Perry above 50% this entire election cycle are from Rasmussen, and Nate Silver has shown pretty well how their “house effect” can change polls — and further analysis shows that Rasmussen polls early to set the narrative, then leaves come Election Day.
  • The Tribune poll shows that White's margin among Hispanics is only 43-32%. Anyone who believes that number is simply off-base. Translation: Bill White has enormous room to grow.

The Tribune poll is the 11th public poll we've had on the Texas Governor's race in 2010. Preferably, we would do regression based trendlines of the polls — like those at Pollster.com — but quite frankly, I didn't have time. (If anyone wants to make a graph with the data below, you can e-mail it to me at phillip@burntorangereport.com and I'll see if it's something we can put on our site). Instead, I've done a simple average of polls taken so far in 2010, and tried to put all our data points into one place:

Texas Governor's Race: Public Polls
Date Pollster Rick Perry
Bill White
Jan. 17 Rasmussen 50
4 6
Feb. 1 Rasmussen 48 39
5 8
Feb. 7 TX Tribune


8 12
Feb. 7 PPP 48
 – 10
Feb. 10 TX Newspapers
37 13
Feb. 10 Research 2000 46
Feb. 22 Rasmussen 47
5 7
Mar. 3 Rasmussen 49
43 3 6
Apr. 14 Rasmussen 48
2 6
May 13 Rasmussen 51
 4 6
 May 20 TX Tribune 44
 7 5
47% 40%

A few thoughts about the numbers above:

  • I made this chart so we had easy access to all data points. Click on the name of the pollster and you will get to the original documentation of the poll.
  • We need better polling in Texas. Both Rasmussen and the Texas Tribune polls have highly suspect areas of methodology. Rasmussen appears to swing wildly and refuses to release any of their sample size figures; the Tribune is an internet poll that previously identified 90% of respondents as being very or fairly involved in politics. As much as I'd love to have 90% of respondents very familiar with politics, I think we all know that's not the case here in Texas.
  • What strikes me most about the polls above is that when Bill White was present on TV statewide — mid-February into the primary — he was polling within 4-6 points. Now that he's doing regional television to build name ID and we've slipped into the summer season of the campaign, the poll numbers appear to be trending back towards a generic Dem vs. Rep. ballot question. White remains in striking distance, but he's definitely got ground to gain and we need to get involved and do all we can to help him get elected.

As more polls come out, I'll update and re-post the chart. If I've messed up any numbers, let me know so I can fix them. Enjoy!


About Author

Phillip Martin

Currently the Research and Policy Director for Progress Texas and the Texas Research Institute, Phillip Martin writes occasional long-form pieces for BOR that promote focused analysis and insight into Texas politics. Born and raised in Austin, Phillip started working in politics in 2003 and started writing on BOR in the summer of 2005. Phillip has worked for the Texas Democratic Trust, the Texas Legislative Study Group, and now the Progress Texas family. He is a lifelong Houston Astros fan, a loyal Longhorn, and loves swimming at Barton Springs Pool.

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