Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kay's campaign in collapse mode... Rick up by 12 again...

Thanks to Jason Embry, UT dropped a poll today showing Rick up by 12 (link)...
Gov. Rick Perry leads U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison by 12 points among voters who say they intend to vote in the Republican primary next March, according to an online poll that the University of Texas at Austin will release today.

The numbers:

Perry: 38 percent

Hutchison: 26 percent

Undecided or supporting someone else: 34 percent

Among registered voters, Perry is up 38-27.

The poll — like others in recent weeks — shows a significant surge for Perry over the last several months. Consider that in the same poll released in March, Hutchison led 37 percent to 29 percent. At least for now, these numbers indicate that Perry’s aggressive anti-Washington stance in recent months has helped him considerably with GOP voters, and while Hutchison’s limited public engagement in the race has not.

At the same time, we must stress the election is eight months away and the campaign really has not fully begun.

The Republican primary poll, which had 364 respondents, has a margin of error of 5.14 percent. The poll of registered voters had 350 respondents with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.24 percent.
Rick dropped the huge money bomb on Kay yesterday. Today Paul Burka dropped the bomb on Kay's campaign (link). Excerpt follows...
I find Perry’s lead to be quite believable. Hutchison is running the worst campaign imaginable. She has essentially abandoned the field to Perry. She has been invisible. Perry gave her a softball by fighting for the extension of privatized toll road agreements in the special session — a heaven-sent opportunity — and she just watched it go by. I think her team is not first-rate talent, and I think they are letting her do what she wants to do instead of telling her what she needs to do. Part of Perry’s lead is due to his ability to exploit Republican voters’ anger at the federal government, but part of it is due to Hutchison’s complete absence from the fray. What we have seen is voters defecting from being for Hutchison to being undecided. Hutchison has a long way to go before she is an effective candidate. I keep hearing stories like the one out of the Dallas area, where legislators who attended a meet and greet with Hutchison were appalled at her lack of knowledge of state issues.

It’s eight months until the election, but she has wasted the last eight months (except for fundraising), and she still doesn’t have anything that resembles a message. The one thing in her favor is the same thing that has always been in her favor: She remains very popular. Look at Perry’s favorable/unfavorable: 42-32. That’s plus 10. Hutchison’s in the Lyceum poll was 65-17. That’s plus 48. If she is going to beat Perry, those are the numbers that will decide the race.
I am hearing from people on Kay's team... not the insiders but the people who are just helping on a volunteer basis... that Kay's campaign is dysfunctional right now. There are a lot of disgruntled people who are grumbling about why Kay is doing this, why Kay is not doing that... it could get ugly over there if some of the big money people start putting their foot down.

I am also hearing some hubris from Rick's team. They had better keep all of this in perspective because things can turn on a dime in campaigns. Rick may have the wind at his back now but Kay may have something up her sleeve nobody knows about. Like I said about that Sports Illustrated curse, Rick had a positive article in the Houston Chronicle about not having any sex scandals (link). Then again there were reports of Rick's campaign doing some digging on Kay earlier this year, so Kay better hope she is clean...

Rick has a lot of reason to be happy right now. He is out polling Kay. He will have plenty of money to go on television. He is a compelling national figure with a lot of upside. He has had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him in the past... and he is still hanging in there. As someone close to Rick told me a month ago, he has tapped into a movement not just a campaign.

There are also a lot of undecided Republican voters that Rick is going to have to wrap up. Kay could swoop in and grab those if Rick's peeps get complacent or too optimistic. There is also the risk of early flame out if Rick is too aggressive too early, although from what I have seen so far it is mostly Kay and her team on the attack, throwing whatever they think will stick out there on a daily basis, while Rick is talking more about Obama and Washington and bragging about Texas.

I have seen this race turn from a likely rout on one side to a possible rout on the other side with my own eyes through this blog. It may be in poly sci textbooks one day.

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.