Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Polls designed to save Bill White from the triage kiss of death...

Michael Barone reveals that Democrats are applying a political triage system and cutting off candidates they deem as lost causes (link). Excerpt follows...

When you spot the word "triage" in a political news story, you know someone is in trouble.

Triage is the procedure by which medical personnel screening people injured in combat or disasters separate those who can be saved from those who can't. The first group are given immediate surgery in hopes of recovery. The second are given painkillers to make the end bearable.

So it was a startling to read last weekend in the New York Times that House Democratic leaders "are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority."

With a poll just before the weekend showing Rick up by 12 points, and prebituaries already being written (link), you just knew that Bill White's supporters would put out their own numbers to try to keep Bill White on life support and save him from the second painkiller option in the triage.

Nate Silver of the New York Times has Bill White at a 16.5% chance of winning, and Rick at an 83.5% chance of winning after very little movement over the past few months of heavy spending by the Democrats and no advertising spending by Rick (link).

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The Democratic Governors Association has already sunk a lot of money into Bill White's campaign, and there were rumors last week that he might have been on the verge of getting cut off by some of his biggest donors outside of Texas especially. Bill White and his allies needed to show that Bill White is a good investment...

Right on cue three polls have come out this week... none really all that reputable.

Polls, polls, everywhere, but not a drop to drink... how does that phrase go?

The first... August 25-29... was commissioned by trial lawyers and everything about it looks like a pushy poll. Maybe not a push poll as political scientists define it per se but a pushy poll... they asked a bunch of leading questions on insurance issues slanted how the trial lawyers wanted to push... In this poll Rick leads Bill White 42-41 with an extremely high number of undecided voters compared to every other poll out there today.

Texas watch is a very liberal group, and just look at some of these questions (link). They asked nearly two dozen questions designed to prove that Texans want government to take over the insurance industry. Strange survey.

Much has been made of it being a Republican pollster, but David Hill is not respected among Republicans I have talked to over the past few years and was famously or infamously depending on your point of view was really pessimistic about Republican chances in Texas in 2008... I think he basically declared the GOP dead in Texas.

Hill's split was 36.7% GOP, 32.5% Democrat. Really? Republicans only have a 4 point lead on Democrats in Texas? Is that a joke?

Another poll was commissioned by a Democratic "philanthropist" ...whatever that means... by Zogby (link). In this poll which was conducted from August 24-28 Rick is up 44.4 to 40.6... basically a 4 point lead... I don't know anything about this poll other than it was done by Zogby and was paid for by a Democrat...

Next, PPP is a liberal outfit from North Carolina that has a bad track record and very little credibility in Texas (link) (link) (link) (link). They had Rick down to Kay by 25 points at one point in the primary... they never had Rick above the low 40s... and then Rick ended up avoiding a runoff and winning by 21...

Earlier in the summer PPP had Rick and Bill White tied at 43 points each... several weeks later and millions of dollars spent by Bill White and his allies resulted in Rick gaining to 48-42 (link)... in other words even in PPP's liberal poll Rick gained 5 points, Bill White lost 1 point... for some reason PPP seems to do really poorly in Texas... maybe because we don't register by party so it is harder for them to find good samples of peeps to poll...

Strangely... the Wilson Research Poll which was conducted from August 29-31 (AFTER the trial lawyer push poll and Democratic "philanthropist" poll) has been largely ignored in the media narrative of polls (link). Excerpt follows...

WRS poll - TX Governor: Perry Up 50% - 38%


Wilson Research Strategies conducted a research study of likely voters throughout the state of Texas on behalf of GOPAC-TX.

Respondents were contacted by phone via a live telephone operator interview August 29-31, 2010. The study has a sample size of n=1001 Likely Voters. The margin of error is equal to ±3.1% in 95 out of 100 cases. The sample was stratified to represent the district electorate based on race, age, gender, partisan identification, and geographic distribution.

Key Findings


· Rick Perry 50%

· Bill White 38%

· Other 1%

· Undecided 11%

Name ID and Image

· Rick Perry

ID – 98% Favorable – 50% Unfavorable – 40%


Rick Perry is in a strong position to win a third term in November. He not only has the Republican political environment on his side but has a net-positive image and a solid lead against the popular mayor of the state’s largest city. See link below for full memo

Another recent poll from Rasmussen conducted just a couple of days right before the trial lawyer push poll and the Democrat philanthropist poll had Rick up 49-41 (link)... August 22 was the date on that one...

So in other words if we are to believe these polls as equally valid, the timeline goes like this...

AUGUST 22--- Rick was up 49 to 41...
AUGUST 24-28--- Then Rick fell and was only up 44.4 to 40.6.
AUGUST 25-29--- Also Rick fell even more and was up by 42-41...
AUGUST 29-31--- But then Rick surged back into the lead and Bill White cratered 50-38...
SEPTEMBER 2-6--- But then Rick fell a little and Bill White recovered, making it 48-42...

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Isn't it funny how this looks when you lay it out in a timeline of when the polls were conducted, not when they were released strategically to get more press...

I doubt there were many violent roller coaster swings like this. Likely Rick was up by 8 or so points the whole time... and likely he will win by around 10 points... as Perry vs. World sez, take the over on the point spread of 7 (link). Excerpt follows...
In short: underdog candidates love to see polls released showing the race tightening, and that's no exception here, so that's good for Bill White. But I don't yet see anything that makes me terribly uncomfortable taking the over on +7 Perry.
One thing to notice is that Rick's peeps have been very very quiet on polls in general, good or bad... they don't mention the good ones all that much... and they certainly don't mention the bad ones... Bill White's peeps seem far more eager to proclaim to the heavens when there is a poll they like...


  1. Let me make sure I got this:

    Partisan polls that you like = good.
    Non-partisan polls you don't like = bad.

    Took you two days to respond to all this, and this is the best you could do? You're losing your touch...

  2. This blog no longer uses logic and the attacks on Democrats are weak.

    I'm okay with discounting polls, but all of this language is SPIN. You are trying to spin the bad polls for governor Perry instead of telling the truth.

    You smear some pollsters, don't smear others. The way that you said this:

    "I don't know anything about this poll other than it was done by Zogby and was paid for by a Democrat..."

    Seemed like you were calling out Zogby. You didn't need to say it, but it was a reference to him being Jewish. I won't read your blog anymore because of the spin and the way you write about our candidates and this race.

  3. Great graph. Nice work.

  4. Christian is religion-baiting. How's that for an ironic sentence.

    I always thought Zogby is a Lebanese Arab Christian, not Jewish. You can't even race-bait properly. lol

  5. At least Phillip admits it...
    "Partisan polls that you like = good.
    Non-partisan polls you don't like = bad."

    Do you have any substantive responses to the chart I put together?

    As for Christian... good riddance to you...

  6. GOPAC is run by Phil King of Speaker Craddick days and fame. Currently they support the furtherest to the right candidates that include:
    Erwin Cain
    Connie Scott
    Dan Neil
    Lanham Lyne
    Jim Landtroop
    Bill Zedler
    Cindy Burkett
    Stefani Carter
    Jim Murphy

    Likelihood any of them win in November? Let's call it -12 for sake of argument. Likelihood GOPAC is the most accurate poll? 0%

    In their first press release, GOPAC stated, "GOPAC-TX- membership of 63 Republicans of the Texas House and Senate is committed to recruiting a new generation of Republican candidates and providing them with the tactical tools and strategic training to win"

    Seems really fair and unbiased. In fact, on face it seems to be exactly what you oppose in polling based on your lead. A partisan poll with a partisan agenda that is only out there for partisan gain.

    Let's call it a partisan outlier and move on.

    The race appears to be +5 for Perry going past Labor Day. This is absolutely a lead for Perry, and polls are snap shots. Right now, at this moment, Perry is losing ground. A solid debate and a few endorsements from major papers and that should turn around. Oh... wait!

  7. Phillip and the Burnt Orange Kidz spinning like maniacs. How sweet it will be when they lose yet again.

  8. It's only loss to those who believe those faulty polls... I mean, anyone with a functioning brain knows that Rick is going to win. That's just the way it is, and no poll will prove otherwise. I mean, they can keep creating this false hope that Bill White is gaining ground or giving Rick a run for his money (actually he hasn’t spent much money at all), but I can't wait to see their faces when White goes down in the hardest of ways!

  9. Bill White has a chance to win this year like I have a chance to bang Beyonce and Jessica Alba at the same time. It ain't happening, gents.

  10. Anon, I'm sticking with my earlier prediction that Perry wins by at least 13 percentage points on Nov. 2nd:

    Perry getting somewhere around 55-56 and White with around 42-43.

    PS: the Perry campaign is saving their $$$ for the real dirty work: negative TV ads which do work 100 percent of the time (see Meg Whitman's TV ads in California's gubernatorial race).


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.