Friday, September 24, 2010

Rasmussen: Rick Perry By Six Points (So It’s All Tied Up)

I take special note of today’s Rasmussen Poll of the Texas gubernatorial race which now shows that Bill White has pulled to within 6 percentage points of being tied with Rick Perry as he seeks his unprecedented 3rd term as Texas’ governor.

Special note and a big sigh of relief.

Mainly because Rasmussen is notoriously biased in their polling for conservative candidates and causes. This is not big news. It has been known since Rasmussen became a business concern that conservative causes and candidates fared better in their polling.

“Rasmussen polling occupies an odd place in the political culture. In the conservative world, it is the gold standard. If you go to a conservative set on basically any random day, you'll see somebody touting a Rasmussen poll. … Rasmussen frequently asks unusual polling questions that produce results almost certainly calculated to demonstrate public support for the conservative position.”
Despite all of this, they report today that in their previous poll, Bill White had 41% to Rick Perry’s 49% only one month ago, and in February published widely ranging results where Perry had somewhere between 47% and 51% of the votes to Bill White’s 38% to 44%.

So even in the conservative-biased Rasmussen Poll, Bill White is gaining on Perry.

What does this mean? I think I have an answer.

First, look at less biased polls done prior to Rasmussen’s. The UT/Texas Tribune Poll released in mid month shows that Rick Perry leads Bill White by the same six percentage points, but their numbers were 39% Perry, 33% White. Yes, that means that excluding those clueless few who will still vote Libertarian, 22% of respondents still don’t know who they will be voting for.

Then if you look at a poll conducted earlier this year, during the summer, conducted by Public Policy Polling, showed White and Perry at a 43%-43% dead heat.

The data seems clear. Rasmussen finds less than 10% undecided in the same month that UT/TT finds 22%. Clearly their polling method served to make up the minds of some of their subjects. It also seems clear that 39% is all that Rick Perry can muster. Voters were given a choice of 4 candidates in 2006 and only a minority of 39% could agree that Rick Perry was their man.

39% seems to be a number that continues to dog Rick Perry.

But coming back around to the trend that even Rasmussen cannot ignore, even the ones that Rasmussen has polled, with their well-crafted ways of putting a question, have been shifting. Rick Perry’s base will always be there, but now we are beginning to see a leak that has sprung in Rick Perry’s dam. Republicans are having second thoughts.

My guess is that the 6 point difference at Rasmussen translates to a race that is all even. A tie whatever the percentage points.

And why is this? 

Slowly, and deliberately, Rick Perry voters are having second thoughts. Solid Republicans are seeing Rick Perry for the self-interested governor that he is and are turned off. What should be alarming to the Perry campaign is that while Perry’s image is tarnished, they see Bill White as a Democrat, but a Democrat that they can live with.

And the best thing I can tell these people is that while I am a Democrat, I regard Bill White as a candidate that I can live with as well.

This seems to reassure them.

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