Houston Mayoral Poll and Co-Endorsement Keep Race in Tossup Towards the End

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The Houston Chronicle paired with Zogby International to release this poll that was held last week.  

“It's close, a lot of voters are undecided, and there appear to be three legitimate contenders,” said John Zogby, president and CEO of Zogby International, which conducted the poll for the Chronicle. “Brown has spent the most money and has the greater name recognition, and that's been enough to put him in first place. But you could make the argument that he could be a little disappointed in these results, because whatever lead he has is hardly commensurate with what he spent.”

According to the poll, Brown leads the field with 23.8 percent of the vote, followed by Parker with 19 percent, Locke with 13.1 percent, and Harris County Board of Education Trustee Roy Morales with 6.7 percent.

The results are drawn from a survey of 601 likely Houston voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

That leaves 36% undecided, so any of the three leading Democrats can make a runoff.  But with an election so close, the candidates are fighting not only among themselves, but also against “stay behind at home.”

Brown was behind in many older polls, but his deep pockets and many paid advertisements seem to be paying off.  The poll also asked one-on-one contests between these three leaders.  Brown wins against both Parker and Locke, but he finds himself in a statistical tie with Parker, leading only 35.3% to 34%.  Parker beats Locke in that match-up.

Nany Sims gives solid analysis.  She thinks everything points towards a good future in Houston, as she finishes:

Here's the bottom line:  We have a field of outstanding, qualified candidates and people are just not concerned that one is significantly worse than the others.  Shouldn't we be celebrating this fact?

In our modern democracy, people tend to be more driven to vote “against” someone than “for” them.  When you have a collective of qualified individuals, the voters are stumped.

I say “YEA” for a democracy that is actually working as it should.  You may have to work a little harder than normal to pick the candidate you like the best but be happy that you don't have to threaten to leave the city if one of these folks wins.

But the Houston Chronicle thinks one of those three candidates might be worth voting against.  And it is the man their poll places as the front-runner, Peter Brown.  Their editorial board has co-endorsed Annise Parker and Gene Locke, but Muse tells us what it really intended: “Anybody But Peter Brown.”  Problematically, though, the Chronicle fails to enumerate their problems with Brown, leaving voters without reason to actually cast that vote against him and for someone else.  

Personally, I, too, am shaking my head at that co-endorsement.  It makes little sense to me, and it only adds confusion in a race nearing the finish line.  I tend to agree with Nancy, too.  The reasons to vote for these three candidates supersede reasons to vote against them.  Annise Parker probably still has the most inside track to the runoff, but the candidates' combined strength provide the possibility for any combination of these three to battle one-on-one after November 3.


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    • yah…
      That's why, among other things, I see this still as a clear tossup.  I treat Zogby as if its margin of error is twice the normal poll's margin of error.

      But…this is really all we've got right now.

      I'm not sure why The Chronicle chooses to work with Zogby as opposed to a better polling firm.  I wonder when their contract runs out, and if we'll see someone new…

  1. For progressives this is a tough choice
    at least it is for me.  I'd be happy with any of the above, quite frankly.  I like them all and I am torn.  So what it will come down to is who one believes has the potential to be most successful in addressing the city's problems and moving Houston forward.  

    We have serious infrastructure problems, e.g. torn up roads, gridlocked freeways and roads, polluted air, crime, barely viable public transportation in the nation's 4th largest city.  The light rail expansion project seems to be operating in constant slow motion.  Yes we can't in that area.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Now I know the state and feds are responsible for some of this, but we need an aggressive mayor who will kick butt and light fires under feet dragging state/federal agencies and local companies that provide services.   Bill White knew how to do this, especially during and after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. Especially Ike.  I guess I'm looking for the one who will fight the hardest for the city and its people and won't back down to special interests and Republican bullies.  


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