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Fresh Governor's Poll: Bell in 4th

by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Thu Apr 27, 2006 at 04:36 AM CDT

Survey USA grants us their first poll on the Governors race so no tracking numbers here but runs counter to last month's round of polls showing Bell moving up as Strayhorn fell.  What's worse about this one, which continues to show Perry steady around the 40% mark, is Bell is in dead last, even behind Kinky Friedman. Can I officially ask how lame our Party may become if that actually held true through November? Geeze. I can only hope it's an outlier.

1,200 Texas adults were interviewed 4/23/06 - 4/25/06. (note: major house action during this time) Of them, 985 were Registered Voters. Of them, 579 were judged to be "likely" voters. MoE ± 4.2%

39%  Perry (R)
25%  Strayhorn (I)
16%  Friedman (I)
15%  Bell (D)
3%  Other
3%  Undecided

Perry leads among Whites, Hispanics, Republicans and conservatives. Strayhorn leads among moderates. Friedman leads among independents. Bell leads among Blacks, Democrats and liberals.

I'm assuming that 'other' would match the Libertarian vote statewide.  I'm attempting to gain permission for some internal numbers from a different poll for y'all today as well to show some other hypothetical matchups.



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Bad Poll (0.00 / 0)
First, anyone who is not a registered voter should not be polled.  They are not going to vote and including them skews the results.  In general, only "likely voters" should be counted.

In fact, that is what they did.  If they had used 1200 responses, their Margin of Error would be +/- 2.83% at the 95% Confidence Level.  Instead, they are reporting +/- 4.2%, which would mean they only included the 579 "likely voter responses.

In my experience, a poll with anything more than about 3.5% MoE is going to fluctuate wildly.  You could run this exact poll again today and get results that are very different.  The reason why becomes apparent if you look at the actual number of responses:
Perry - 39% = 225
Strayhorn - 25% = 144
Kinky - 16% = 92
Bell - 15% = 86
Other (who the hell else is there?) - 17
Undecided - 17

I find it difficult to believe that only 3% of people out there haven't yet made up their minds.  I find it equally hard to believe that 3% of people who are likely to vote are going to write in someone else entirely.

This is one for the garbage heap.


Christian Liberal is NOT an oxymoron.

A few points (0.00 / 0)
A lot of the 'interviews' probably went like Q: "Hi, are you a registered voter?"
A: "No"
Q: "Have a nice day"
Even if you have the voter list, you are likely to get someone besides the targeted voter answering the phone, so you need to screen the responses, and then filter for 'likely voter' status. Going from 985 registered to 579 likely voters gives you some info on their filter. Does 579/985 seem like a reasonable turnout percentage? A bit high, but they are filtering out >40%, so a significant screen. The post-filter group may be statistically representative of the actual voting population. Or not. There is nothing to base a judgement on beyond SUSA's pretty accurate track record.

Also, the question (paraphrased) is 'The election is today and you are standing in the voters booth. Who do you vote for?' That would minimize the undecideds.

As for confidence rates and margin of error, short of polling the entire population, you are not going to have perfect results. Odds are on a bell curve, so the most likely scenario is getting the percentages exactly right. With 4.2% MOE, can anyone say that Friedman is ahead of Bell? No. Is Strayhorn ahead of both? Yes.

[ Parent ]
Turnout (0.00 / 0)
1,200 Texas adults were interviewed 4/23/06 - 4/25/06. (note: major house action during this time) Of them, 985 were Registered Voters. Of them, 579 were judged to be "likely" voters.

985 registered voters out of 1200 adults = 82.1% of the VAP.

579 "likely" voters out of 985 registered voters = 57.8% turnout.

Let's go to the SOS historical turnout page for comparison.

2004 (Presidential): Percentage of VAP Registered = 81.5
Turnout = 56.6

2002 (Non-Pres): Percentage of VAP Registered = 80.97
Turnout = 36.2

2000 (Pres): Percentage of VAP Registered = 85.3
Turnout = 51.8

1998 (Non-Pres): Percentage of VAP Registered = 81.9
Turnout = 32.4

1996 (Pres): Percentage of VAP Registered = 76.9
Turnout = 53.2

1994 (Non-Pres): Percentage of VAP Registered = 66.1
Turnout = 50.9

1994 was a somewhat freaky year; I think the turnout is a bit skewed by the much smaller percentage of registered voters. Bottom line, though, is we've never had a 57.8% turnout election, and in the last two non-Presidential years, it's been closer to 35%.

What does this mean? I think such a high likely-voter model significantly overstates Kinky's level of support. He's going after the non-likely voters, and has said he wants to raise turnout to something like 45% - this would be a dream come true for him.

Beyond that, who knows. Everyone's assumptions about this year is more than the usual amount of guesswork. All we can do is aggregate, and not fret too much about any one result.

Before you win, you have to fight. (5.00 / 4)
And I've seen, I'm sorry to say, absolutely no signs of fricking life from the Bell Campaign.

Waiting for the other candidates to kill each other off so you can step over the bodies to the governor's mansion is not a leadership strategy.

I recently had to defend the Democratic Party from the supposedly "centrist" suggestion that they abandon their primary winner and endorse Our Lady of the Many Surnames.

But if the Bell Campaign can't get it together at the top of the ticket, it kind of undercuts my argument. It will hurt every single Democratic candidate down ticket, and that infuriates me.

Think I'm kidding?  Check out the Bell event calendar.

One freakin' event published for this week, and nothing after that.

This 4 person field requires a creative strategy. If Chris Bell wants to win, which I'm frankly starting to doubt, he needs to be getting out to the grassroots and exciting the base.

My sense of why the state employees union  endorsed Strayhorn is that they know she will FIGHT, and they believe rightly or wrongly she will fight for them.  They don't know that Chris Bell will, and that is the fault of the Bell Campaign, not the union.

If I were to read that he showed up at one of Van Os' filibusters, that would be a start.

I have to stop now, because I feel the bile rising in my throat.

Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us at TexasKaos.

You also have to have money to fight (3.00 / 1)
I've sent money to the Bell campaign and will send more. My understanding is that a lot of the big Democratic donors are sending money to Strayhorn and that is not helpful. You can't hire staff or get your message out if you don't have $$. Going to the fillibusters is not going to get you much attention, either. Bell needs a massive statewide effort as we get closer and closer to November.

[ Parent ]
You know what? (5.00 / 2)
Money does make it easier to fight, but that's not what you need first.

If you wait for money to fight, you never inspire anybody at all. And that inspiration is what the Bell Campaign is lacking.

It's that Fire in the Eyes that Ned Lamont has in the CT Sen race.

This is going to be a bizarre race, and I've no idea if Bell will be able to win.

But if you want to see what's clearly not working, it's what they've been doing. Exhibit A and B being the money and the poll results above.

It's time for a change of direction, and for a display of that leadership that candidate Bell says he wants to bring to the Governor's mansion.  If he can't do it in the campaign, he not only won't get the chance to do it in Austin, but may actually lead the TDP further into the margins of Texas politics.

You. have. got. to. fight.

Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us at TexasKaos.

[ Parent ]
Talk about Bell on Saturday? (0.00 / 0)
We're having some issues with the state party and DNC with our door hangers so I dont want to say too much until after Saturday but I will mention one thing. They had asked that when youre talking with your neighbor (if youre actually going to talk to anyone) that you should talk about Chris Bell. My group doesnt plan on talking to anyone because we need to maximize who we get door hangers too in our area, but if those of you who are doing the canvass so choose to do so, then talk up Bell if you have anything to say about him. I think hes in dead last because he doesnt have the name recognition with the average voter.

talk (3.00 / 1)
I dunno, I'm mor einclined to talk Van Os and Gilbert, y'know our GREAT candidates. Possible Radnofsky and raise her ID.

Bell just doesn't excite me like the others.

[ Parent ]
And the love just keeps flowing (0.00 / 0)
Political Wire's reporting this as well, of course. Under the lovely title: In Texas, Democrat May Finish Fourth

Is that Joementum I smell?

Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us at TexasKaos.

2 interesting things (0.00 / 0)
3% undecided? I don't think so. That may be why Kinky's numbers are so high - people who don't really know yet picked Kinky just for the heck of it. I tend to agree that a lot of those people won't actually vote.

Also, "Perry leads among Whites, Hispanics, Republicans and conservatives" - Hispanics? I know the republicans have been courting the Hispanic vote, but as Democrats that should worry us a little...

are we really suprised the Dem is last? (1.00 / 1)
We suck.  it's plain and simple.  Democrats have no message, no viable statewide candidates, no passion and no credibility.  Can we please realize it's time to stop bestowing all our futures on a bunch of overpaid political consultants who haven't actually been in the field on a campaign since before Jimmy Carter?

New blood, new ideas, a little passion and for goodness sake, some leadership and some who listens and does something instead of talking would be nice - if not helpful.

Sandra for Chair (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
wait (0.00 / 0)
is that really *the* Sandra Ramos I hope it is?

[ Parent ]
Nice speech, Sandra... (4.00 / 2)
but let's not use a bogus poll to indict a whole party for the lack of passion people have for the Bell campaign to date.

I hope generic slams like yours and KT's "lame" comment reflect a genuine frustration instead of convenient excuse for other intra party battles, but either way, they do nothing for the cause. The fact is, there is some damned good work underway in several places here and around the state, including a TDP office where there several young, new, experienced, field-tested folks on staff who are upgrading field, communications and on line capabilities.

Maybe we should consign ourselves to another five or six weeks of snarky doom and gloom until we get past imminent intraparty matters, but why?

Recently, I've talked to lots of Texas Dem activists, staff and consultants, as well as our new State Chair and his opponents. One thing they all seem to have in common is a desire to see the Bell campaign focus on a more aggressive, better planned outreach to the Democratic base. Wouldn't we all be better served to help make that a reality instead of kicking sand on each other?

May I just add "Amen" to that. (0.00 / 0)
The Bell Campaign needs to get its head out of the 90's mindset and focus on the very best things they can do to bring out the TX Democratic voter.

Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us at TexasKaos.

[ Parent ]
Talking Horse (0.00 / 0)
I don't see anyting to evidence that it is a bogus poll as SUSA had one of the best trackrecords in the last cycle. The fact that their sample was 41% R, 35% D, and 21% I is a nice chance from the severe oversample of Republicans that we usually see in Texas polling.

I'm not genericly slamming for the sake of doing so. BOR isn't a 100% partisan promotional piece for the Democratic party.  If people want that they can visit the TDP or it's blog back when it had one. I'd like to think that many readers would like some grounding in reality even while there are other times when yes, we do try to set a media narrative.  It's just near impossible to say, Bell is shaking things up, when he not. That has nothing to do with the primary, and everything to do with reality.  It is a genuine frustration as I communicated to Phillip last night at Players.

The Governor's race shouldn't have a relation to the TDP race, except for the fact that Bell chose to insert himself into it which I have previously expressed as a bad idea. Similar to Mark Strama getting involved and endorsing in the University Democrats elections, where his preferred candidate was defeated by a 2-1 margin last night.

[ Parent ]
not about snarky doom (0.00 / 0)
what i said wasn't a slam just to slam - as an activist, I'm absolutely frustrated by all of this and I see hard working activists dismissed by the "Party" every day.  Those of us who have worked in the trenches on campaigns know how hard it is to put forth a new strategy or a different idea that doesn't conform with the same ol' same 'ol. 

Maybe my rant wasn't necessary, but I think accepting we have a problem is the first step to recovery.

[ Parent ]
Reach out to the Democratic base? Are you kidding? (0.00 / 0)
Do you really think the fight is for second or third place?

There is no base that Bell can reach out to and win.  He's an empty suit, so the campaign will remain empty, even if it gets "active" again.

It is true the Strayhorn's chances do not look wonderful right now, but they exist.  It really will come down to Strayhorn or Perry.  The party's best chance to benefit from this is to work on getting Republicans and Independents to split their tickets, not vote straight party, in order to benefit the down ballot candidates.  We can take the Texas House back this year!  It would be smart to keep our eyes on that prize.

[ Parent ]
maybe I'm frustrated myself (0.00 / 0)
KT, but SUSA is still bogus - as is any poll with 215 response from non-regsitered adults and over half the sample not likely voters. They are the the ones more likely attracted to an independent type with name ID and not a partisan with lower name ID. That said, I agree that Chris ain't shakin' it these days, and 35% or more is readily accessible with a recognition that this campaign is about the base, and particularly people of color.

Sandra, I really did appreciate the intensity in your initial post. Far be it from me to mute passion except when strategically necessary. I've been through many campaigns and lots of ups and downs and have yet to burn out. Each one is a chance to learn as long as we treat each other, and ourselves, with respect. Perhaps that's why I do get frustrated with generic indictments of "us." Lots of good D's - from staff and field workers to candidates and officeholders - are doing good work here in Texas - learning new things and moving forward. We all have different talents and different roles to play, but with self-respect and respect for others, we can avoid the knives and arrows and get back to working, and winning, together.

And now, tonight's AFLAC trivia quiz: which candidate for Governor has the longest history as a Republican?

The poll results are (3.00 / 1)
a direct reflection on the Texas Democratic Party, and just how far down we are.

This is why the TDP Party Chair Election is so critical.  We need leadership at the top of the party that will provide a master plan and a real organization that will empower Democrats statewide.

We don't have that right now, and haven't since I came to Texas in 1995.

A Democratic "Master Plan"... (5.00 / 1)
...would be a howl that would wake Will Rogers from his grave. Right here on this blog and others, and in meeting rooms statewide, scores of democratic genuises would argue about the "master plan" for three election cycles instead of working in campaigns.

But seriously, changes at TDP have been underway for a while now. And whatever else happens, we should have a Chair who understands that rebuilding our party is bigger than any one person or any one consultant.

But it was not just the institution Sandra was talking about, it was all of us. Some might prefer waiting for a messiah to lead us to the right path, but we'd crucuify him or burn her at the stake. Instead, if we all would simply work more than talk, we'd take the most important step toward moving in the same direction.

TDP's job is raising the money to build an organization that can provide candidates and activists the information and the tools required to contact voters and deliver a message most effectively, as well as the ability to preserve and expand on that information to improve those organizational efforts in each succeeding cycle. It's not rocket science. They now have people there that "get it" and that work has begun. The rest is up to us.

Their "job performance" (0.00 / 0)
That may be their job, but their "job performance" leaves much to be desired. They are supposed to serve us.  Instead, the attitude by the Texas Democratic Party has been that we are to serve them.  Send the check in, vote for who they want elected, and shut up.

"TDP's job is raising the money to build an organization..."

And they've been real successful at it haven't they? And now you have Democrats sending the checks to Carole Strayhorn. That in itself says more than most care to admit I suspect.

[ Parent ]
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