31 October 2010
Update on Gallup numbers
While writing my explanation, Gallup released the final poll before the election. They get 55-40 as their final result, assuming a 45% turnout model. So, even when they boost turnout by 13% over the max for the last 40 years, they still get a massive Republican lead that is twice what it was in 1994. By the way, the most Gallup has ever been off is 4.5% in 1998. If you assume Gallup is off by 4.5% in this election, the result would still be the all-time high for Republicans.
The results are from Gallup's Oct. 28-31 survey of 1,539 likely voters. It finds 52% to 55% of likely voters preferring the Republican candidate and 40% to 42% for the Democratic candidate on the national generic ballot -- depending on turnout assumptions. Gallup's analysis of several indicators of voter turnout from the weekend poll suggests turnout will be slightly higher than in recent years, at 45%.
One final note: I put so much weight on Gallup's results for three reasons: 1) historical record, 2) methodology, and 3) because it matches what I see in the congressional and senatorial polls.
Why Republicans win 70 seats; an explanation of my projection
First, let me be clear on this tradition of predictions. It is not a wish list but a walking out on a limb, so I can either crow afterward or eat same. I base them on data I am privy to and my gut. I have had much success in the past -- look it up. But if ever there were a year for my lifetime batting average to take a hit, this is the one.Every word of this rings true for me. Of course, I say something like this every election. But it's really true this time.
This election is truly difficult to predict. On the House side -- as this post deals with my projection that the Republicans pick up 70 seats -- most of the seats that were originally expected to be the battleground appear to be leaning towards Republicans at the very least, even if you're a wave-skeptic. The seats that are now the true tossups usually have less than first-string Republican candidates and a complete dearth of independent public polls.
These questions aren't reflective of the model by which the projection was made, but are certainly indicative of how I view this election.
1. What is the most analogous cycle? 2008? 2006? 2002? 1994?
A pretty key question that will determine how you project the election. I'd argue that the view from 10,000 feet looks similar to 1994, and arguably much worse for Democrats. There are simply way more seats in play this election, mainly due to two factors: 1) Democratic gains, and 2) redistricting. The first, Democratic gains, is fairly obvious. Democrats won lots of previously Republican held seats in the 2006 and 2008 elections. These are swing districts with non-entrenched candidates who have elected Republicans in recent memory, moreso than in 2006 or 1994. The second is redistricting: we're in the last election of the 10-year cycle that occurs between the Censuses. Districts change and demographics are farthest away from the original cartographical intent.
Also, I'd note that Gallup's generic ballot is at an all-time high for Republicans. The high turnout model has a 52-43 Republican edge, while the low-turnout model has Republicans at 55-41, whereas in 1994 it was 53.5 R - 46.5 D. Big difference -- this year is twice the 1994 gap, and Gallup's polls have historically been very close.
2. What will turnout be like?
Your answer to the first question will certainly affect your view of turnout.
And wait! I referred to the low turnout model as if it was an apples-to-apples comparison to Gallup's historical results. But, aha! It is the same model! The low-turnout model -- the one most favorable for Republicans -- is their traditional model. It caps turnout at 40%; basically choosing the 40% of voters most likely to vote and throwing away the rest of the sample. Crazy huh? Well, not only has that been predictive for a long time, but we haven't had over 40% turnout in a mid-term election for 40 years. Gallup's high turnout model takes the top 55%, which is more reflective of a presidential campaign. So if you think Obama can turn out his voters like it was 2008 again, then you might think Gallup's high-turnout model is worth using.
Of course, even Gallup's high turnout model has Republicans leading 52-43...which is higher than Republicans have ever polled in Gallup before an election, even 1994.
3. Is Democratic enthusiasm spiking?
While people quickly forget, Republican enthusiasm spiked right before the 2006 election. Partisanship finally kicked in a little bit...and that means that Republicans only had a 59 seat swing. I have no doubt that Democratic enthusiasm is in fact spiking right now...it's just highly unlikely to spike enough.
Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of anecdotal evidence, so of course in this circumstance I'm just going to cite an anecdote: Obama's last rally in Cleveland today was half-full. 2008, this is not, even though Nate Silver still makes assumptions like it is.
Frankly, having gone through a fair amount of crosstabs in the last few days, it appears to me that pollsters are being overly influenced by the 2006 and 2008 election results. Now, perhaps those elections really were a paradigm shift; but it's at least as likely that those results are unduly influencing partisan turnout models.
4. What does a 46-44 poll mean?
It's a tossup, right? Wrong. I'd argue that a Democratic incumbent who is polling at 44% and down 2 is a likely loss given the enthusiasm gap.
Finally, I leave you with a Rorschach test: TX 27. Ortiz v Farenthold. Obama won the district in 2008 53-46, which is exactly the national result, if I recall correctly. However, W beat Kerry 55-45 as well as essentially tied Gore 50-50. Ortiz carried the district by 20% in 08 against a perennial token opponent who spent very little money. The only poll we have is by a Republican polling firm that has Farenthold up 8. Silver has Farenthold as a 23% chance to win. I have Farenthold as about a 40% chance. However, looking through the rest of OnMessage's polls for the cycle, I have to conclude that their numbers appear to be generally speaking within an acceptable range in other races. Congressional races are not independent events.
One thing I'd note: at the time I predicted 70 seats, Larry Sabato had the GOP gain at 55, Nate Silver at something like 51, Rothenberg says 55-65, Charlie Cook has the number in the 50s. Point being that I could easily pick a lower number (eg, 61) and lower my chances of looking silly, while still looking better than all the professional political pundits. The smartest thing for me to do, from a reputation standpoint, is just to pick 61 and say I got it better than everyone else.
On the other hand, I was upset when the Texans picked Mario Williams. I screwed that up; mea culpa.
My current US House projection: +70 GOP.
I just ran my model, and I'm projecting a 69-70 seat Republican gain in the US House. FYI, as of right now, all the major political horse race pundits are predicting 50-55.
Scarily enough for Democrats, I have some potential tweaks coming that might predict larger Republican gains than 70.
If Bill White had run this ad...
This would probably be harder to pull off in Texas, as Texas Democrats are probably more liberal, as well as more multipolar ideologically.
Still, an interesting hypothetical.
30 October 2010
* The Statesman looks at where Perry and White go to church.
* Jason Embry also does a pre-election post-election perspective on the gubernatorial race.
* White says it's not over.
UPDATE: The WashPost does a late profile on Canseco v Rodriguez in CD23, which I currently have marked on my scorecard as a "Republican takeover."
Think Perry vs White is negative?
Check out these campaign commercials:
29 October 2010
Bill White's closing ad: newspaper endorsements
I watched it and thought: hey, I've seen that ad before. Kay Bailey Hutchison ran the same closing ad:
Pete Sessions not to be House Majority Whip?
House Republican Leader John Boehner appears to have defused a possibly ugly fight for the #3 leadership slot if the GOP takes control. He would be Speaker, and Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia would be majority leader. But the whip spot looked like a fight between NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, one of the "Young Guns" and a key recruiter/hand-holder of the incoming freshmen. Perhaps wrongly, it would have been covered as a proxy Boehner-Cantor fight, since Sessions has longer ties to Boehner and McCarthy has longer ties to Cantor. But Boehner gave McCarthy the "America Speaking Out" agenda project that turned into "A Pledge to America," and was pleased.
Look for Sessions to stay at the NRCC. Rep. David Dreier (Calif.) is in line to return as Rules Chair, so don't put too much stock in the rumor of Sessions to Rules chair (either now or in the future). Sessions would have competition to be Rules chair in the future from Rep. Doc Hastings (Wash.), potentially. It's in no one's interests to have a bruising fight for whip. So there won't be one.
That means no Texan in House leadership. A bit disappointing.
Best Dem campaign in last 10 years?
Mark Jones' post about benchmarking Bill White's performance got me thinking about which Democrat ran the best statewide campaign in the last decade.
John Sharp got the highest percentage when he snagged 46% and held Dewhurst to 51.77%, so he'd probably be most people's pick. I guess you could say Chris Bell for losing by only 9% on the top-of-the-ticket, although if you paid attention to that race it would probably be difficult to pick to pick Bell. You might be tempted to pick White, although even if he keeps the numbers in the single digits, I'd argue that he never put together a possible winning strategy, more like a "minimize the margin of deficit" strategy.
Obviously, there's no right answer, but I would actually go with Ron Kirk. He might have lost 55-43, but winning a Senate seat is much harder than winning the gubernatorial mansion for Democrats in a Republican state. He had the polls pretty close until the end,when most of the late-breakers went for Cornyn. He was running in a nearly impossible situation, at the height of W's popularity in Texas and in a Republican year. So even though Sharp lost by less in the same year, Kirk had a much tougher race, so I'd pick the former mayor of Dallas.
Latest PPP poll: Perry 53, White 44
PPP has Perry 53, White 44 with just 3% undecided. 10/26-10/28. 568 LVs, sample MoE +/- 4.1%.
They didn't include 3rd parties, but they did have the poll in the field this week, whereas the newspaper poll includes data from a week ago.
PPP, more or less a Dem polling shop, has shown better numbers for White throughout the cycle than other pollsters.
Campaign like Perry, PJ parties, Q&A with Kay, Cornyn one of few average guy Senators
* John Cornyn is one of the very few Senators who isn't a millionaire.
* Kay Bailey Hutchison fills in the blanks for Esquire.
U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, with 28 years in Congress the dean of the Texas Democrats, is in his 15th bid for election and waging what may be the toughest battle of his political career against a Republican with little clout but one now-famous pair of duck-print pajamas.This has to be one of the more ridiculous attacks in the past few years. Under Ortiz's definition, anyone who has ever been to a party while in college is disqualified from running for office. And sometimes we wonder why people don't want to run for office...
He's spent $855,000 so far, lending himself $95,000 this month. He seized on a photo of the pajama-clad Farenthold standing next to a blonde at what he termed an "S&M party" and has stood by its campaign use amid threats of a defamation lawsuit.
* Jason Embry in the AAS:
Imagine if White campaigned like Perry.I think Embry should stick to his day job. If it were so easy to "campaign like Perry," then you think someone would have done it by now.
Maybe he would run an ad featuring the family of a mentally disabled Texan who was forced by the staff at a state-run residential facility to fight other residents. Or maybe he'd feature someone who was sexually abused while locked up at the Texas Youth Commission. Both happened during Perry's tenure.
28 October 2010
Latest Perry vs White poll: 49-37
The latest poll from the newspapers shows Perry leading 49-37.
Obviously a double-digit lead with a week left is impossible to overcome, barring a scandal, and the trend is in Perry's favor.
10/22-10/27, Blum & Weprin
673 LVs, +/- 3.8%
(numbers in parentheses) from 9/15-9/22 B&W poll
Perry 49 (46)
White 37 (39)
libertarian 2 (4)
green 3 (1)
Not Sure 6 (8)
No Answer 4 (2)
The one Democratic hope would be a backlash against this ad, as the time in the field probably doesn't fully capture the effect of that ad. That appears to be White's hope. Unfortunately for him, that ad is likely to move the numbers towards Perry even more, and given Perry's advantage in cash on hand, it will be very difficult to change the course of the campaign.
National profiles, Bill White still talking about being a liberal, Perry's YouTube acct shut down, suggested reading
* The Wall Street Journal profiled White v Perry, so naturally the NYT follows with its own profile today. If you're reading this blog, hay muy poca posibilidad que hay algo nuevo. O sea, nothing new here.
White talks to me about why he supports the Observer's "independent voice" in spite of our criticisms of his campaign, about the challenges of journalism these days, about the future of politics.He does understand that being a liberal isn't a winning strategy in Texas, right? This would drive me crazy if I worked on his campaign.
"It's an interesting time for progressive politics," he says. "I think there's this new progressivism coming ... but what is it? It's not just that the government gets bigger, it's that the government gets better, it's who the government serves."
* DFW's NBC5:
One of Perry's YouTube channels was shut down for copyright infringement.
Late Wednesday night, videos normally found on the "Liberal Bill" YouTube channel were not working. When users tried to click on the videos, a message popped up saying, "This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement."
* Abby Rapoport takes a trip out to West Texas for the Texas Observer. Pretty good read, though sometimes I felt like I was watching a National Geographic special to an exotic island.
Benchmarks is a way of saying "It's over"
Rice Political Science Professor Mark Jones puts up a post entitled, "Benchmarks for Bill White on November 2." In other words, sayeth the professor, Bill White ain't gonna win, but what's a moral victory?
46.0 percent. This is the highest percentage won by any Democrat in a statewide race during the past decade. John Sharp (a potential rival in the 2012 Democratic Senate primary) won 46.0 percent of the vote in his 2002 campaign for lieutenant governor. Surpassing this mark would position White in the driver's seat for the Democratic Senate nomination, as well as provide strong support for the case that he would be a formidable rival for whichever Republican wins the party's nomination in 2012.
43.7 percent. This is the percentage won by President Barack Obama in 2008 in Texas. While the overall political context, as well as the composition of the voters participating in the election is distinct in 2008 and 2010, White's 2012 quest for the Senate will be advantaged by the extent to which he exceeds President Obama's vote share.
40.0 percent. This is the percentage (39.96 percent to be more precise) won by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez in 2002. Failing to cross this threshold would be a traumatic blow to White's political future.
I'd add one: 9.24%. Even for the lackluster campaign that Chris Bell ran, he managed to stay within about 9% of Perry. [Even though Chris Bell himself said, "You could be a corpse and get 31 percent as the Democratic nominee just about any office," before winning exactly 29.8% of the vote. Yes, Chris Bell got outperformed by a corpse.] If White doesn't get closer than 9% to Perry, Democrats have to wonder why they got so excited and put so much work into a candidate who couldn't outperform Bell.
As the title says: it's over. No one discusses these sorts of things during the last week of a race that might flip.
27 October 2010
Kinda slow for hump day
* White praised for Katrina, but left headaches is the headline of Jay Root's article. That's a succinct summary.
* Trevor Rees-Jones gets his profile for donating to American Crossroads.
* Perry made the traditional championship wager with...Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, not with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
* El Paso native Raul Vazquez made Fortune's 40 Under 40.
It's Silly Season!
Democratic consultant Ed Martin:
To get Hispanics to the polls, you have to talk about things that are [of] real importance to Hispanic families: how we're going to raise our kids; whether or not in the current environment, a candidate will treat them like first-class citizens.
Must be Silly Season.
A strange sentence
"The polls have been steady for three months or so," [SMU professor Cal] Jillson said, "which suggests that White has made his best case and 45 percent of Texas are impressed with it. But it takes 50 percent-plus-one."
Here are the last poll numbers for White: 43, 42, 36, 43, 42, 39, 42, 38, 40.6, 41, 41.
Those numbers suggest that about 40-41% of people are impressed with White's "best case." In no poll has Bill White hit 45% -- in that timeframe or in the history of the race -- even given that you would expect him to do so occasionally if his number has been above 40% throughout the period of time covered by those polls.
Latest Flores v Edwards poll: 52-40.
In a poll done by former Clinton pollster Mark Penn's firm for The Hill, Republican Bill Flores leads Democrat Chet Edwards 52-40.
10/19-10/21 by Penn Schoen Berland
404 LVs, +/- 4.9% MoE
The numbers don't get any better for Edwards in the details. Chet Edwards Fav/Unfav rating is upside down at 45/49, but even worse among independents at 44/51. That's quite a contrast with Bill Flores whose 56/31 Fav/UnFav is about the same among independents at 54/32.
Obama has a 32/66 Job Approval/Disapproval and 25/73 among independents.
Further the numbers show that more Republicans say that A) they won't change their mind and B) that they will definitely vote. More than double the number of Democrats only say that they will "probably" vote -- this close to an election day, someone only saying that they will probably vote is not very likely to make it to the polls.
26 October 2010
Tony Garza overview, AFT/TRS, TX House, Perry getting out the non-Texas vote?
1. Former Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza offers his overview of the November elections. Pretty good overview from 10,000 feet but it probably underestimates the number of House seats will turnover.
2. Ratcliffe and Fikac in the Chron and SAEN:
Gov. Rick Perry is drowning Democrat Bill White with money, more than doubling the former Houston' mayor's fundraising and spending in the past month as he closes the campaign with a television ad criticizing White over the death of a police officer.True enough, though I think this would be better contextualized by noting that White made the strategic decision to spend earlier, while Perry made the decision to spend later.
4. Perry zings White. Jay Root reports:
Sitting on a pile of cash and a lead in the polls, Republican Gov. Rick Perry is so confident in the final week of the 2010 election that he's begun urging supporters to spread his pro-conservative message to other states.
At Buzzie's BBQ in Kerrville Tuesday, Perry told a boisterous crowd of about 200 to go vote for him and then asked them to call their friends and relatives living outside Texas and urge them to get behind the Republicans.
5. Paul Burka offers his short take on most of the Texas House races. I think he's underrating the potential Republican victories.
Bill White, Houston Police, and Sanctuary Cities
Bill White is described as livid over Perry's ad on Sgt. Johnson. From Kelley Shannon's AP report:
Democrat Bill White accused Republican Gov. Rick Perry on Monday of "shamelessly" exploiting the widow of a Houston police officer who was killed by an illegal immigrant by using her in an ad that blames the former mayor's immigration policies for the death.
Corrie MacLaggan wrote down Officer Johnson's reply:
In Perry's ad, Sgt. Joslyn Johnson, Rodney Johnson's widow and herself a member of the Houston police force, comes down firmly on Perry's side.
She said in an interview Monday that she doesn't share Perry's political party affiliation but that this issue "goes above my beliefs as a Democrat."
In the ad, she says Quintero had been arrested and convicted several times before and had been deported.
She says White supported "sanctuary city policies that made it difficult for officers to safely do their jobs."
"I trust Governor Perry to secure our safety," she says in the ad. "Bill White had his opportunity as mayor of Houston, and he failed."
This is the downside to White's claim that it is a "total fabrication" that Houston is a sanctuary city. General Order 500-5 of the Houston Police Department prohibits officers from inquiring about citizenship status. The Houston Police Officer wanted that order rescinded. Bill White, who is in favor of the policy, refused to even let there be a public debate.
Whether Bill White wants to deny that Houston is a sanctuary city is irrelevant to the fact that the Houston Police Officers are livid about that and have been for some time. [By the way, what does Bill White want to call Houston? A semi-sanctuary city? Mildly sanctuary? It's pretty clear that Houston has different law on the subject than other cities, including Section 287(g) as well as General Order 500-5.] To those of us who lived in Houston while White was mayor, the ad isn't shocking. It's not so much pro-Perry as it is anti-White.
Strangely, the Houston Police were not persuaded by Austin journalists' Politipinions on whether Houston is a sanctuary city.
The ads everyone is talking about
The TT internet poll makes standard internet poll mistake
Karl-Thomas Musselman writes:
I've never seen 3rd Party candidates poll this high in Texas. Up to 15% of the vote in the Railroad Commissioner race is potentially tied up between the Libertarian and Green party.There is zero chance that numbers like this happen on election day. Glass will not be at 8%, and no Libertarian will crack 10%, except where there is no Democrat on the ballot.
He posts these numbers from the YouGov poll:
Perry 50% White 40% Glass 08% Shafto 02%
Dewhurst 51% Chavez-Thompson 38% Libertarian 09% Green 02%
Abbott 55% Rodnofsky 35% Libertarian 11%
Combs 51% Libertarian 11% Green 09% Undecided 29%
Patterson 50% Uribe 37% Libertarian 12%
Staples 50% Gilbert 37% Libertarian 12%
Porter 50% Weems 34% Libertarian 10% Green 05%
Those third (and fourth?) party numbers are just laughable, and they illustrate why I don't generally mention or comment on the internet polls. 15% of the vote in the Porter v Weems Railroad Commissioner battle goes Green or Libertarian? No way, no how. 12% of the vote going libertarian in the AG, Land Commish or Ag races? LOL, I don't think even most Libertarian activists are that optimistic.
It's a known problem with these internet polls that they tend to oversample certain types of voters, who are exactly the types who will vote for Libertarian or Green Party candidates. When you don't even attempt to control for that, it's just not a poll that you can take seriously.
Further, previously the TT has followed their internet polls with a series of articles breaking down their internet poll. The problem with that is that subsample results are even more statistically suspicious than the topline results. It really shouldn't be done.
25 October 2010
Bill White with only $500k on hand for the final ad blitz
Between July 1 and September 23, Bill White spent $11.2M while Perry spent $3.9M. The race narrowed a little bit, but not alot. On the other hand, numbers for most Republicans probably improved during the same period, so while the effect wasn't large, there probably was some effect.
Between September 24 to October 23, Perry spent $16.1M and White spent just $6.1M, and the polls have started to widen a little bit.
Overall spending for the cycle was pretty similar, as post-primary Feb-July White spent 3.3M and Perry $3.5M. So until now, White has spent about $20.6M and Perry has spent about $23.5M. Once you factor in the Back to Basics spending, that puts White and Perry at almost exactly the same amount of spending.
Of course, with only $500k left for the final week (Perry has $2M left), White isn't in a good spot to make up 10 points and it's likely someone will want to invest seven figures in him at this point.
Bill White's big donors
I took a quick look at Bill White's big donors ($25k+) from the latest Perry vs White campaign finance reports:
Amber Mostyn 250k
Provost Umphrey 150k
Clark Burnett Love & Lee 100k
John Williams 25k
Sheridan Williams 25k
Caddell and Chapman 25k
* a bunch of other unions gave smaller 5k-10k amounts
Kase Lawal 50k
Rebecca Moores 50k
North Texas Leadership PAC 100k (David Alameel)
Jonathan Soros 10k -- George Soros' son
If this were a different state, I guess some blogs might have some fun with that last one.
Finally, in the last month both 98 Dem nominee Garry Mauro and 2002 Dem nominee Tony Sanchez gave 10k to Bill White. 2006 nominee Chris Bell? Zero. Amount Chris Bell has given to Bill White's campaign ever? Zero.
I'll try and writeup Perry's big donors as well, although Wayne Slater has already partially done it.
Bill Flores seals the win?, more on Perry's letter-writing, and HW endorsement shocks everyone...not really
1. The NRCC cancelled its reserved airtime in CD17, signalling that they think Chet Edwards is too far behind to have a chance at winning.
Maybe Chet Edwards should claim he voted for McCain, like Gene Taylor (D-MS)?
Just days before Washington state voters decide whether to impose a first-ever state tax on six-figure incomes, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has jumped into the middle of the fray.
With a week to go before the Washington ballot initiative, Perry, a Republican, has taken an unusually aggressive swipe at Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat. Perry sent letters Friday to 90 leading businesses in Washington including Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks inviting them to relocate to Texas, which also has no income tax.
3. George H.W. Bush endorses Perry.
4. Matthew Dowd thinks that Obama's best chance for re-election is if Republicans take the House but Dems barely keep the Senate. Which is the most likely scenario. I more or less concur, though I think it's arguably better for Obama if the GOP takes the Senate too, albeit with only 51 votes.
5. Wayne Slater:
Gov. Rick Perry and challenger Bill White swapped charges over immigration Monday, each accusing the other of failing to keep Texans safe from illegal immigrants and sex offenders crossing the porous border from Mexico.
Perry, a Republican, suggested in a new TV ad that White was partly responsible for the murder of a Houston police officer by an illegal immigrant during a 2006 traffic stop. White, a Democrat, was mayor of Houston at the time.
White blasted the ad, which features the officer's widow. He said the Perry administration botched the record-keeping that would have helped police spot the killer and now is "exploiting shamelessly the grief of a widow" to score political points.
Latest campaign finance: Rick Perry $8.4M raised, Bill White $3.6M
For the period 9/24 to 10/23
2M in cash on hand.
The actual report is at TEC.
.5M left in cash on hand
The full TEC report.
White's record as mayor, Chron circ continuing to fall, Green Party access
1. In the Statesman, Ben Wear looks at White's transportation record as mayor.
2. Chron columnist Rick Casey writes an entire column rehashing Politipinion's...opinions.
In other Houston Chronicle (related?) news, the Chron again posted one of the steepest declines in daily circulation among the top 25 newspapers. This comes on top of repeated significantly-larger-than-average declines even as the Houston metro continues to grow faster than average. The Wall Street Journal and the Dallas Morning News were the only papers to post increases.
3. Karl-T at BOR notes that the Green Party is quite likely to get 5% in the Comptroller's race, thus securing ballot access for the 2012 elections. Just as Libertarian ballot lines have ciphoned off crucial votes from Republicans in close races, Green ballot lines could do so to Democrats in close races. Karl-T tells Democrats not to vote Green in the Comptroller race (where there is no Democrat); the corollary I suppose is that Republicans should vote Green.
4. Bradley Olson takes a balanced look at White's record as mayor.
8 day campaign finance reports due today
The 8 day campaign finance reports are due today, so we should get some idea of how much money Rick Perry and Bill White have left for the final homestretch. Not including third-party groups of course. There was some speculation last time about how much TV time Bill White had actually reserved in advance, so maybe we'll get some insight into that as well.
Update: The post on the latest campaign finance reports.
24 October 2010
Micromanaging, Perry 1098, Prose, Transportation and more
1. DMN compares Perry vs White on transportation.
2. Bill White has gotten a bit of a reputation as a micromanager:
Fundraising chief Kathryn McCarter, sitting next to me, says that White still needs to review two new ads today and make suggestions. "He has a good eye," she says.
So he's as hands-on with the details of the campaign as people say?
"Oh, yes," she says, chuckling at the understatement.
Meaning he was responsible for that tortured prose in the campaign ad?
Ken Herman also recounts White spelling out details of details for the ads of his mayoral re-elect:
"We should tell a story. ... Coherence requires discipline. That means some stuff that meets the general criteria above will be discarded. The lack of coherence is why I had to be involved in the concepts and words and the like during prior TV production," he wrote. "This e-mail is an attempt to provide a clear vision and criteria for editing.
Finally, please consider different ways of tying statements to these themes. In prose you do it with thesis sentences. In ads you can do it with subtext imposed on pictures. In books chapter headings will do. Help the viewer link the dots."
The excuse that White didn't know about this ad seems increasingly less believable as the campaign goes on. But hey, we all make mistakes.
3. Peggy Fikac talks to Cal Jillson, Jason Stanford, and Mark Sanders about their views on the race.
4. The Austin American-Statesman talks Perry v White in the Houston metro.
5. "The Seattle Times editorial board thanks Texas Gov. Rick Perry for inviting Washington employers to move to his state and remind Washington voters to defeat Initiative 1098, which would impose a state income tax."
23 October 2010
The Texas Tribune has a pretty cool map tracking events in the Perry vs White race. Check it out, they're trying to populate it with photos and reports using #txgovtrack on Twitter.
re: Bill White's ceiling
As I mentioned in the previous post, I don't think I've seen a single public poll in the entire race that has Bill White over 43%. Even with sample errors and randomness, you'd think that he'd get over 43% in a few polls here or there. If he's really at 42%, then we should have seen a 45% in there just based on randomness alone.
That speaks to what I've been saying all along: running like Bill White has as a generic Democrat in Texas during a strong Republican year has a ceiling. We know what that ceiling is: about 43%.
Rasmussen: Perry 51, White 42
Rasmussen's latest poll has Perry over 50.
The last Rasmussen poll two weeks ago had Perry 53-42, so there has been a slight narrowing, though not statistically significant.
10/21, 500 LVs
Not Sure 5
To date, I don't think I've seen a public poll that has Bill White over 43%.
22 October 2010
It's Friday -- time to hit the links
* Bill White is out on the campaign trail with Robert Earl Keen. REK is a frequent proponent of Texas Dems. Meanwhile, Jason Embry had Pat Green as a camp counselor once upon a time...oh, and Pat Green endorsed Perry.
Decision Points promo video
Although polls show a tossup in a hypothetical Obama v W race, it's not terribly helpful to have W's name in the news too much in the runup to the election.
Nonetheless W's book is being released the week after the election. Here's the promo video for Decision Points
21 October 2010
A day on the campaign trail with Rick Perry and Bill White
Houston ABC13's Ted Oberg does a day on trail with Bill White on Monday and Rick Perry today.
You know who Ted Oberg is, right? Does the name ring a bell? That's right, Ted Oberg is Adios, Mofo, one of the funnier moments in recent Texas campaign history. Here are his reports:
Latest Canseco v Rodriguez poll
Via polltrack, the latest poll from Texas 23, Canseco v Rodriguez:
OnMessage, 10/19-10/20, 400 LV
Quico Canseco 45
Ciro Rodriguez 39
"Top Democratic strategist sees incumbent Chet Edwards holding off GOP challenger Bill Flores in U.S. House District 17" is the headline for a DMN article with this lead:
The Democrat's top congressional strategist predicted this morning that two embattled Texas incumbents, Reps. Chet Edwards and Ciro Rodriguez, would win reelection on Nov. 2.
"These guys are battle-tested," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland , chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "We see good prospects for both."
Considering that most independent political handicappers have Edwards losing, that's an awfully strange headline, and kinda strange to write an article based solely on partisan cheerleading. Maybe Edwards will prevail with his own October Surprise, but it will definitely require coming from behind in a tough environment when some people have already voted.
UPDATE: By comparison, Chris Cilizza's article on the same events at WaPo.com is headlined, "Sessions says 95-100 seats in play, GOP 'well ahead' in 40-plus districts; Van Hollen laments unprepared incumbents."
To those of you with Teacher Retirement System IP addresses
If you'd like to talk, on or off the record, send me an email: perryvsworld @ gmail_dot_com. If you'd like to talk off the record, I will of course need your name, but I promise complete confidentiality. In particular, write if you think I got something wrong.
I'm getting alot of hits from TRS addresses on my Teacher Retirement System posts, so I know a few of you probably have opinions on the Michael Green memo. Like I said, I have experience in the field, so you're better off talking to me than to a political reporter from a TV station or newspaper.
Bob Perry in the news
Texas home builder Bob Perry donated $7 million to American Crossroads, helping the political group advised by Republican strategist Karl Rove raise almost $15 million in about six weeks.
Probably one of the smarter ways a Republican could spend money this election cycle.
New poll Perry 48, White 37
Via RickvsKay, the Texas Civil Justice League did a poll with a sample size of 1200 and found
Rick Perry 48%
Bill White 37%
The TRS October Surprise -- based on year old, non-pursuable Teacher Retirement System allegations
Points to the Bill White campaign for getting the Texas media to breathlessly report for a couple media cycles on a possible new scandal at the Teacher Retirement System...when in fact the uncovered facts are more than a year old. Negative points to the Texas media for not figuring this out sooner.
I've read the Michael Green memo about the Texas Teacher's Retirement System (TRS). It is over a year old...and you know the only thing redacted, presumably by Bill White's campaign? Not Michael Green's name...the headers which show the date of the memo's writing. Seriously, the date is the only thing redacted. Somehow this didn't send off alarm bells for the media?
Although White called for an investigation based on the over a year old memo, Travis County prosecutors met with Green in early September 2009 and closed the matter almost half a year ago. Keep in mind that the Travis County DA is elected by a heavily Democratic constituency -- if there's smoke, there is an electoral incentive to go searching for fire. The Attorney General's office also passed. In short, it's pretty clear that prosecutors don't think Green's memo is worth pursuing.
The prosecutor's refusal to pursue the case is in addition to the third-party auditor report hired by TRS which could not find evidence of action worth pursuing.
[disclosure: I have some professional experience in this area, but as far as I know zero professional contact with anyone named in this story.]
As to Green's memo, what I read is similar to what I've heard in conversations with friends who were unhappy that their boss told them what the result should be for their research. Green sounds like someone who is trying to do his job, albeit one quite willing to believe the worst about his bosses' motivations. Indeed, TRS doesn't sound like a well-functioning investment team where internal dissent is encouraged for the purpose of making proper decisions. On the other hand, while I'm not certain of the TRS board members' exact responsibilities, it seems like they likely are obligated to push for managers who they think are proper for the fund. Also, in some ways, 10j is quite disturbing, if true, because it shows a lack of understanding by some management as to how an overcommitment strategy for private equity works, with regards to the need to diversify by vintage year. Likewise 10k -- among others -- might also be particularly disturbing, if true.
But how this connects to the gubernatorial race is far-fetched. I suppose you could come up with a scenario whereby Perry is appointing TRS boardmembers who he tells to invest TRS funds in private equity and hedge funds managers who then turn around and donate a portion of those profits to the Perry campaign. That doesn't really make sense though -- a private equity manager who is already quite wealthy is going to risk jailtime to get 0.5% richer? And why would Rick Perry come up with this relatively small scheme when Clayton Williams has previously said that he'll back Perry with whatever necessary and Bob Perry has repeatedly shown a willingness to give whatever Rick Perry needs? What Bill White or his campaign was alleging just doesn't make sense.
Now, a more likely Dem charge is: well, Perry appointed the wrong people. If we accept everything Green's memo says as unimpeachable fact (further investigation would be required for this), then you can say that Perry's appointees are less than great at being board members.
Unfortunately for White, his own Houston METRO board performed much worse than TRS. And TRS is just a small part of the governor's appointment portfolio, whereas METRO is a pretty major piece of the Houston Mayor's appointments. Moreover, White was known for being personally involved in METRO and transit issues, even running under the slogan "Let's Get Houston Moving." So it's hard to think that we're likely to get better board appointments by electing Bill White.
In short, having investigated this, there really is absolutely zero "there" there to the TRS story. It's surprising that the Texas media has spilled so much ink on what was a non-story...over a year ago. Less so now.
Five good things about Rick Perry
Yesterday I promised to write 5 things even Democrats can like about Rick Perry
* Rick Perry is -- at least -- partially responsible for the fact that Texas has a stronger economy than other states.
* Rick Perry served his country in the Air Force as a pilot.
* Rick Perry is underrated strategically, as every political opponent he has ever had has underestimated him
* Rick Perry is a big fan of the Boy Scouts, being an Eagle Scout himself.
* Rick Perry has risen to the top throughout his life, from Yell Leader to being elected to the Texas House at the age of 34 to governor.
Five good things about Bill White
Yesterday I promised to write 5 things that even Republicans can like about Bill White.
* Bill White tried to include Republicans in Houston City Council decisions
* Bill White has had success in multiple careers, from law to energy investor to politics.
* Bill White is really passionate about the oil and gas business
* Bill White is fairly honest as a politician, hasn't dissembled ideologically in circumstances where other politicians might
* Near and dear to my heart, Bill White made the excellent decision to send at least one kid to Rice
20 October 2010
Cull and comment
* Bill White was hunting votes in Texarkana.
* The Lt Gov was in Fort Worth:
Dewhurst told local business leaders Wednesday that he and other Republicans in Texas are working to make sure that the state has a good business climate.
Dewhurst predicted that efforts to balance the state budget, which has an expected shortfall of more than $20 billion, should be made a little easier by past financial practices such as building up a rainy day fund. "We'll have to tighten the belt some ... but it's not going to be as hard as some think," he said.
Dewhurst said it's time to look at individual programs and evaluate which ones work and cut back on those that don't. "Essential services we will maintain," he said.
He later suggested going out and buying stuff to help replenish the Texas' government coffers. I get that it's light-hearted, but I've never understood why the government -- moreso the federal than the state -- doesn't make it possible and easy to donate to the government.
* Jason Embry doesn't sound impressed by Bill White's debate performance either:
Everything you need to know about Democrat Bill White's campaign came at the 48-minute mark of Tuesday's gubernatorial debate.
A panelist asked Gov. Rick Perry's three challengers (Perry turned down his debate invitation) to name the Texas law they'd most like to repeal. "The death penalty," said Green Party nominee Deb Shafto. Libertarian Kathie Glass said the property tax.
White's response: "There's a whole bunch. But most unfunded mandates on our local school districts deprive them of control. I'll give you an example. I'd like to see the law repealed that didn't give local school districts flexibility in setting school calendars. Why should school calendars be dictated from Austin?"
* Christy Hoppe notes the Perry emails that he used in the primary.
If you click on the video, you'll see Perry standing before a screen of a billowing Texas flag. Then he starts out saying something rather startling: "Hi, your name". Yes, it's the governor. And he's personally urging you to vote early.
The technology is from Bizgreet. Here's their explanation of how it's done: "To do this, the Governor recorded almost 700 names, over 30 cities, and 3 different outros that changed based on the date. It might sound daunting, but it's really simple, quick, and the Governor was able to record all of these segments in just 45 minutes."
Ain't technology wonderful?
* Brad Watson snaps both candidates:
Republican Gov. Rick Perry and his Democratic opponent, former Houston Mayor Bill White, don't agree on much. But something they've both done successfully while in their respective offices is make money for themselves.
While White criticizes Perry for holding assets in a blind trust and Perry hammers White for not releasing all his tax returns, their respective deals show they broadly agree that profiting personally in office is good.
* Point taken:
Translators found the scripts were adequately written and well-delivered for non-Spanish speakers, however, each featured incorrect accent marks or other spelling errors in the on-screen titles.
"Anytime you have a typo it grabs a person's attention away from the most important point, and drives it toward the mistake, Pechnenko-Kopp said.
I believe it. I don't read the text, but I bet a native speaker does and gets distracted from the visuals.
* I hadn't seen this before, but this is just...strange. Democratic State Judge Jim Sharp is running for Supreme Court, but he doesn't seem to know when to keep his mouth shut giving his unsavory opinions about Democrats or Texans when talking to the Statesman.
Demonization and politics in the Silly Season
We're reaching the peak of Silly Season, where even the normally most level-headed folks start to lose it when their partisan emotional buttons get pushed. I'm reading quite a few vulgarities out there and everyone is very into demonizing their opposition.
Take a deep breath people. Go grab a taco or empanada -- perhaps a Texas microbrew as well -- and relax a little. Opposition != enemy. To misquote Elvis, a little less demonization, a little more compassion.
Debate, Teacher's Retirement System, Web ads
* Reading through newspaper reports, it sounds like Libertarian Kathie Glass won the debate against Bill White and the green party candidate Deb Shafto. Bud Kennedy seemed to sum up the general mood:
But in a moment that might be a metaphor for White's campaign, viewers also saw him called out by moderator Christy Hoppe of The Dallas Morning News for turning a simple "lightning round" question into a windy, Harvard-lawyer explanation of why he wouldn't rate President Barack Obama on a scale of 1 to 10.If a debate is so important, why do we have lightning round gimmicks? Maybe there's some poetic justice there, but I feel kinda sorry for White. He obviously has some Obama connections that weigh him down in a Texas general election, but shouldn't he at least be allowed to explain in more than a number?
"Mayor White," Hoppe interrupted, "this is a lightning round."
Also, Bill White isn't a "Harvard-lawyer." He went to law school at the University of Texas.
* Houston Chronicle columnist Rick Casey thinks that the Teacher's Retirement System story is a big deal. Of course, Casey is fairly partisan and pro Bill White, so perhaps he has some vested interest in the story. He certainly played down the outside report based on these allegations of Roel Campos -- a former SEC commissioner -- that found no wrongdoing.
I work in this particular investment space. It isn't particularly surprising to me that a CIO countermands the decision of an underling. That happens all the time in any industry, but particularly in this one. It's a plausible story that higher-ups wanted investments to go to their friends, because that's the way the industry works: manager selection is a batting averages game where you tend to try to pick the ones you trust and have a relationship with. Trustees and CIOs frequently have their own opinions and often don't care what their analysts and division heads think.
In that, it appears that the auditor's report agrees with me:
Campos concluded that while some TRS board members had referred some investment opportunities to agency staff, there was no evidence they pressured employees to make the investments.
He did find that Harris ran roughshod over his subordinates and sometimes made investment decisions contrary to their recommendations. Campos said Harris told him final recommendations on investments were his to make.
Of course they are his to make, because the buck stops with him. The CIO is ultimately reponsible for the investment performance.
UPDATE: I write more about the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
* Perry links Bill White to Obama and Chicago-style politics in what appears to be a web video.
Seems like the negative stuff is mostly on the web and they are staying mostly positive, but I don't watch enough TV to be sure.
19 October 2010
Bill White "Mansion" and Rick Perry spanish ads
In my opinion, Bill White's ads have been the weakest part of his campaign. The spot contrasts $10k a month for the temporary governor's mansion with school spending. Not a terrible idea, but have we seen much indication that Texans are bothered by $10k a month to replace the Governor's Mansion? I think there are stronger issues.
Finally, Bill White's script in the commercial is: "When Texas has a governor who's more interested in his own house, his own future -- than our schoolhouses -- which are our future -- then you know he's been governor too long." That's fairly complicated on paper, and more complicated in the ad. Good communications often means simplifying.
I assume these were done by Manny Flores and LatinWorks, probably in conjunction with David Weeks. Pretty effective ads.
Not gonna lie, I heard "vamos por bwine camino," not "vamos por buen camino" the first time I watched the 2nd ad, and had to rewind it to get it right.
Culling and commenting
* In Harris County, it's the Republican areas who are showing up to early vote. Not a good sign for Bill White, if he's hoping turnout will propel him to the guv's mansion. h/t to Kevin Whited's Diigo.
* Karl Rove was feeling a little feisty when he talked to Der Spiegel. Whether purposely or not, Spiegel got pretty revealing responses.
* Chet Edwards Tx17 seat now only the 15th most likely to change hands in an election where 60 seats are likely to change hands...good news?
* Bob Perry donated $3.5 million to the RGA. Presumably some of that will find its way back to Texas, although it is hard to say for sure since I wouldn't be shocked if RGA Chair Haley Barbour had a good relationship with Bob Perry. Perry has given plenty outside Texas in the past, so I wouldn't be surprised if some/alot goes to other states. Hard to say.
* Peggy Fikac is funny.
White will appear along with Libertarian candidate Kathie Glass and Green Party candidate Deb Shafto. Watch the debate, which is being sponsored by media including the San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle. And eat your vegetables.Watching that debate sure would be like eating vegetables.
* SMU's Cal Jillson has made a number of pro-Democratic comments this cycle. Today:
Jillson said voters should not mistake Perry giving interviews with him actually debating White, however.Professors are entitled to their opinions, but shouldn't journalists try to filter out the partisan opinions when professor analysis?
"He has, in fact, denied the voters of the state of Texas an opportunity to see him side by side with his principal opponent," Jillson noted. "This is the palest version of an actual debate."
UPDATE: Ed Schipul makes the case against red light cameras in Houston. I couldn't agree more. Red light cameras are about one thing only: money. They aren't about safety, as they arguably make the streets more dangerous.
"Tonight we discuss solar energy"
This is funny. It's the top 5 movie posters. I copied #5 below:
Although hilarious, I wish that the Houston Press still put serious resources into covering local politics. Recently I needed to do some research on local Harris County politics, and nothing compared to the Press. Que lastima.
KPRC, a Houston TV station, has a reporter on the air that writes "almost everyone I know is offended and turned off by Democrats . . . but believe me I'm not partisan."
Should that reporter continue covering politics?
Rick Perry vs Mark White?
I have no idea why, but I got a few hits today for Rick Perry v Mark White
I don't know if that means name ID isn't that solid yet, or if I just missed something in the campaign.
18 October 2010
* Jay Root reports for the AP on Bill White campaigning in Houston, focusing on the African-American vote..
* Bill White talked to the FWST editorial board about polls:
"The average of our last three polls is between 3.5 and 4 percent," White said. The most recent poll his campaign conducted had him behind Perry 46 percent to 41 percent but White said he believed that poll oversampled Republican voters.That last sentence is empirically incorrect, but it is a common saying in politics.
Recent public polls have shown Perry with a lead of at least six points. A couple have found the governor leading by more than 10 points.
White said a large number of undecided voters remain, according to his campaign's polling.
"Most undecideds, generally, they tend to break against long-term incumbents and certainly our surveys have shown that," White said.
But of course, what I want to know is: if his pollster is oversampling Republicans, why doesn't he get a new pollster? I have sympathy for politicians who have to answer questions about polls when they are behind, but I'd come up with a better argument than that.
* Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert endorsed Perry.
* Farouk Shami endorses Rick Perry. Didn't he talk alot about how he was going to support the Dem nominee? Hmm. Conspiracy theories?
* No Texas races are in the top 10 races nationwide for spending by the congressional campaign committees.
* Karl Rove's Karl Rove: Carl Forti.
The gubernatorial "debate" -- Rick Perry and Bill White interviews
Probably more in-depth than a debate.
17 October 2010
* Ross Ramsey gives us his state of Perry vs White. Pretty good analysis.
* I'm getting a fair amount of traffic for my post on BTEC and Bill White. Much of it is search engine traffic, but it seems like at least a few people have emailed it to their friends, because lots of those hits come from gmail, yahoo mail or hotmail. Interesting.
* DMN's Christy Hoppe wrote up the DMN's analysis of spending. Interesting, although such analyses are more useful after the race, and once third party spending is accounted for. A nitpick:
That's a rather inexplicable error. Richards ran in 1990 and in 1994.
Communications consultant Elyse Yates, who worked on Democrat Ann Richards' 1996 run for governor, said the electronic age has allowed campaigns to microtarget, identifying more potential backers.
* DMN's Terrence Stutz sees Dewhurst focused on the 2012 election.
* Bill White thinks Rick Perry is disrespectful of Obama, but it turns out that by his standards he's not terribly respectful of Obama or George W. Bush...or Perry. Obviously not a big deal, but it is emblematic of the fact that White's campaign hasn't thought through their attacks.
Every newspaper editorial board has endorsed Bill White
They haven't yet, but that will be my operating assumption. It's not really news when we already know it is going to happen.
16 October 2010
The TT Laura Bush interview
Evan Smith's interview with Laura Bush* is here. The only relevant part was:
TT: Would you mind giving me your thoughts on the upcoming governor's election?
Bush: Oh, yeah, sure, absolutely. We're supporting Gov. Perry.
* is it okay with Bill White if I don't use her title?
re: Rasmussen and his luster
I didn't factcheck it, but that jibes with my memory. So it's hard to see how Rasmussen's luster could have possibly declined this election cycle.
Rasmussen has gained widespread attention for being the first to forecast Scott Brown's dramatic win in the special Massachusetts Senate race in January (the major networks never knew it was a competitive race until the weekend before the election) and the political vulnerability among Pennsylvania Republicans of Sen. Arlen Specter (who later switched to Democrat and lost his new partys primary in May of this year).
Rick Perry vs World gets results!
Friday morning I wrote:
Throw the Hail Mary and take a high-risk strategy. I'd release an ad talking about how he wants to repeal most parts of ObamaCare.
About 10 hours later:
"I wouldn't have voted for that bill," @billwhitefortx says about the health care reform bill that passed Congress.
15 October 2010
How Bill White Can Win
It's no secret that Bill White is a pretty long shot to win the gubernatorial race at this point. He's behind 7-11 points, and underdogs at that margin with only two weeks to go in the race almost never come back. Nate Silver's database puts those possibilities in single digits. Of course, that just means that of the polls in Silver's data set, somewhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 candidates came back to win. Hardly rocket science. And there's reason to think that Silver's model overstates White's real chances because I doubt he included a model of the effect of early voting. Texas' early voting, unlike many other states, reduces the chance that a major scandal or gaffe can change the race. And even for a Democratic partisan, the ETF aspersions don't qualify as a major scandal.
Why is Bill White losing?
The best way to answer this is by looking at the respective candidates messages.
Rick Perry's message: Texas has the best economy in the nation because we keep taxes low and balance our budgets. Bill White left Houston bankrupt and scandal-ridden.
Bill White's message: Rick Perry is corrupt and I'm a businessman who will do better in education and healthcare.
Basically, Bill White is running as a generic Democrat. Maybe a generic pro-business Democrat. In Texas, which hasn't elected a single Democrat statewide in 15 years while even blue states Rhode Island and Mass elect Republican governors a few times. And this is likely to be the most Republican year in my lifetime, surprassing 1980 and 1994. Do you see the problem?
Name one area that Bill White disagrees with most Washington, DC Democrats. I can't. Perhaps he does, but he hasn't shown it. He certainly hasn't spent lots of time talking about it. I am 100% sure most likely voters can't identify a single issue.
And considering that his last few jobs have been mayor of Houston, chair of the Texas Democratic Party and working in the Department of Energy under Bill Clinton, you can see why Texans might not be convinced.
What can Bill White do?
Throw the Hail Mary and take a high-risk strategy. Unless he's planning on running for Senate in 2012 (I think he will, but that will be a harder race for him to win than this one), there's no reason not to take a high-risk strategy.
I'd release an ad talking about how he wants to repeal most parts of ObamaCare. It's not a state issue, which is exactly why he should do it.
Is there any chance he'll do it?
Zero. Politicians are risk-averse, even when they shouldn't be. If there were any chance, I probably wouldn't post it.
Would he win even if he did it?
Probably not. See Texas and see very favorable year for Republicans.
Beyond that, he hasn't laid any foundation with his base or with swing voters. Is it believable to swing voters if Bill White all the sudden breaks with his party on a major issue? I doubt it. To date, he hasn't done it or given much inclination of it, besides saying that he's a business man.
What about his base? The Democratic base is already demotivated and White hasn't managed to get them passionate enough about him that he can start freelancing. On the other hand, it's entirely a turnout question; no White supporter is going to go vote for Perry because White says he wants alot of ObamaCare repealed.
14 October 2010
Farenthold Ortiz TX27 poll
Farenthold (R) 44, Ortiz (D) 36, Mishou (L) 2 OnMessage (R) 10/4-10/5 400 RV
National Democrats don't think they can save Chet Edwards
It's time for triage among the national campaign committees. Having reserved millions of dollars in many districts, they are now dumping the ones that aren't winnable. CQ:
Three weeks before Election Day the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is getting ruthless with its independent expenditure decisions.
Other places where Republicans noted ad reductions Tuesday were the open-seat race in Arkansas' 1st district, Colorado's 4th district (Rep. Betsy Markey), Iowa's 3rd district (Rep. Leonard Boswell), South Dakota's at-large (Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin), Texas' 17th district (Rep. Chet Edwards) and the Phoenix market that covers both Arizona's 1st and 5th districts. Those districts are held by Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell.
Au contraire! Rasmussen looks smarter by the day
Paul Burka wrote a week ago:
I think Rasmussen has lost some lustre in this election cycle
I'm not quite sure how that could be. It was only in this cycle or the previous one that journalists stopped acting like automated polls were the ugly step-sister of polling that could only be mentioned if it confirmed their preconceived biases. I'm pretty sure I could find a few BurkaBlog posts that put him in the Rasmussen skeptic camp, as well as the SurveyUSA skeptic camp.
Rasmussen got alot of heat from Democrats early in the cycle because it had numbers that were more on the Republican side than others. As we've gotten closer to election day, pretty much all those pollsters have tweaked their models, looked at their likely voter screens...voila, no longer are Rasmussen's numbers out of line. In fact, Gallup -- long considered a gold standard -- has been fairly consistently showing much worse numbers for Democrats than Rasmussen.
If anything, Rasmussen has gained in luster as a pollster this cycle. He was one of the first pollsters who captured what was going on in the electorate. Everyone should realize that whether a poll is automated isn't nearly as important as whether a pollster is skilled.
13 October 2010
Getting it right in the title: this post really has absolutely nothing to do with Rick Perry running for president
The other day Jason Embry reported:Recapping a report that Republican National Committeeman Bill Crocker made to state party leaders, Munisteri wrote, "Bill also gave a report at my request, on his efforts to preserve Texas as a more important player in the upcoming presidential contest of 2012. Bill already eloquently presented a proposal to the RNC to allow Texas more flexibility in holding its presidential primary, but we narrowly lost at the last RNC meeting. Consequently, I've asked Bill to head an informal committee to look at Texas' options at becoming a bigger player in 2012, including the feasibility and consequences of moving up the Texas primary and/or holding a straw poll."
This led Paul Burka to write a post headlined: This post has absolutely nothing to do with Rick Perry running for president
I really thought that Perry would wait until after the general election to reveal his presidential ambitions, but here they are, out in the open. Perry always has a plan, always knows what his next step is going to be, and this looks like step one of the coming presidential campaign.
What sayeth wikipedia?
Confirmation bias is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true. As a result, people gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way. The biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs.
It doesn't seem very likely that Munisteri is acting at the behest of the Perry campaign or to win the governor's approval.
In evaluating such a claim, it's useful to think about the point of view of the person involved. About six months ago, Steve Munisteri got himself elected Republican state chair pretty much on his own. Perry didn't handpick him to be the chair of the state party, as is often the case in other states. He got elected by putting together his own coalition; in other words, he has his own power base and doesn't owe Perry anything. Perry, like his predecessor, has largely stayed out of the inner workings of the state party. So as long as Munisteri doesn't get the governor really angry, it's unlikely that Perry will cause trouble to any potential Munisteri re-election bid.
From Perry's perspective, it'd be awfully odd for him or his campaign not to keep their eyes focused on winning in November. They're not really known for leaving stones unturned and being undisciplined when it comes to campaigning. Furthermore, it makes no sense for them to do it now and not later when there is no reason to rush that I am aware of.
In fact, there is an alternative explanation that makes much more sense: Munisteri was doing what party chairs always do. They try to get their states to be more influential in the process. The party activists most important to Munisteri's re-election would like to see Texas have more influence in the presidential nomination process. Most of them have been wanting that for decades.
Finally, Munisteri's own bio makes particular note of the fact that part of the start of his involvement in politics was one of Texas' last important presidential primaries. You don't think that makes him want Texas to be involved in the process again?
Maybe Rick Perry really is running for president. I've written many times that I doubt it, including recently. But when Munisteri does what party chairs normally do, for the stated reasons that they normally do them -- that is not confirmation nor rejection of the theory.
New Perry ad "Right Track"
I thought the final scene was a little odd, but that could just be me. It's a reiteration of the theme we've seen from all of Perry's ads up to this point. The camera likes him more than it does his opponents.
Has Perry's camp gotten more positive on paid media the closer we've gotten to election day?
Script below the jump, courtesy of Texas Tribune.
12 October 2010
Kinky Friedman working on his 4th party
I wrote this about 7 months ago:
You've failed as a candidate on the GOP, Democrat, and Independent lines. Maybe it's time to give the Libertarians a shot?
Just a few minutes ago, the Texas Tribune posted:
Iconic Texas entertainer and perennial politician Kinky Friedman plans to endorse Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Kathie Glass
If Kinky runs for president in 2012 as a Libertarian, that'd just make the cycle complete. Or maybe as a Green.
11 October 2010
New Perry ad
No idea if this is web-only or what the ad buy is. Not subtle. Not detailed. Fairly effective though.
Shades of Adlai
In a state known for its high-dollar political donations, Democrat Bill White is calling for limits on the size of contributions to candidates for governor. But he still hasn't figured out how much is too much.
White, trying to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry, said Monday he would seek "bipartisan consensus" on appropriate campaign finance limits. He also renewed his call for limits of $10,000 from people the governor appoints to state boards and commissions.
Given early voting, we're getting close to closing argument time. And he's talking about campaign process issues? This is a strategy only Adlai Stevenson could love.
10 October 2010
Former San Antonio Mayor Ed Garza endorses Rick Perry
Former mayor of San Antonio Ed Garza endorsed Perry today.
A solid pickup by Perry to get the endorsement of a Democratic former mayor in Bill White's hometown. I know Garza considered endorsing Perry in 2006, though I don't remember if he ever followed through. Of course, quite a few Democrats shunned the 06 nominee in favor of Kinky Friedman or Carole Strayhorn.
Perry always seems to come up with a couple of surprising endorsements every cycle. I assume he puts work into developing those relationships. Perry and Garza worked together in bringing the Toyota plant to San Antonio at the end of Garza's time as mayor. Plus, they're both Aggies.
Update: Greg Jefferson for the SAEN. The article confirms that Garza endorsed Perry in 06 as well, though as I noted I think a 2010 Perry endorsement is perhaps more serious, as no one really thought Bell was a possibility to win at any point.
"If I ain't gonna brag, then no one else will"
Three days ago, I wrote:
Notice that Woodward doesn't say anything about Obama or his advisers. If this isn't Mark Penn speculating to Bob Woodward, I'd be foncused.
Today, Mike Allen reports what Woodward said this morning:
WOODWARD, on the furor over his comment on Secretary Clinton: "What does 'on the table' mean? ... [T]hat book is on the table, right? ... That doesn't mean you're going to read it this week. You know, maybe you're going to read it sometime. Maybe on your summer vacation. ... The point was, ... one of Hillary Clinton's strategists, Mark Penn, when she talked to him about becoming secretary of State. ... maybe she would be needed ... and take Biden's place."
I should really brag more.
What's happening in Perry vs White this weekend
1. What they were doing: Bill White went blockwalking in the San Antonio neighborhood where he grew up, while Rick Perry spoke to the NAACP convention. That sounds like the difference between defense and offense.
I thought this bit was a little not terribly gubernatorial:
His boots shuffling across the asphalt, gubernatorial candidate Bill White briskly jogged from house to house Saturday along the Castle Hills street where he grew up.I can't imagine Perry doing that. Supporters of both probably see positives there, I suppose.
Having the candidate travel from door to door is certainly not the efficient form of blockwalking I learned to have candidates do when I got into politics. Odd.
2. The DMN called up the former head of a FOI Oklahoma to get him to say that Perry should release ETF records. Texas Watchdog agrees. Perry doesn't seem too likely to comply. Hopefully soon I'll have time to post about this.
3. The Houston Police Officers Union joined the Houston firefighters in endorsing Perry over their former mayor. To those of us saying for years that White underfunded the police department in Houston, that's not a surprise.
4. Christy Hoppe and Wayne Slater follow Perry and White on the campaign trail. Strangely, Slater's part does not include anything about Karl Rove.
5. Jay Root at the AP does the schedule flap.
Democrat Bill White has been pounding Republican Gov. Rick Perry for spending more time on his re-election campaign than he does running the state. But records show that White did plenty of political hobnobbing of his own while Houston mayor.Meanwhile Wayne Slater and Ryan McNeil offer:
Although state law requires that the governor's schedule is public, Gov. Rick Perry has regularly kept some of his activities under wraps and has offered an evolving series of explanations for doing so.Relatedly, Bill White's travel forms as mayor were missing details, per Texas Watchdog.
Perry's office drew attention this week after accidentally releasing a one-day schedule that contained a mix of official and political meetings by the Republican.
6. Looks like Perry's campaign will be using Houston's sanctuary city policy against Bill White as we hit the closing weeks
Gov. Rick Perry said Friday that he plans to make getting rid of sanctuary cities -- where officials do not enforce immigration laws -- a priority in the next legislative session.
To do that, he said, he'll make it an emergency item in the 2011 legislative session, saying that the action would help Texas law enforcement officers better enforce state laws.
09 October 2010
Matthew Dowd says it will be Perry vs Obama
Matthew Dowd writes in National Journal that he thinks Perry can get the Republican nomination:
An interesting, recommended read. I mostly disagree.
I am not saying that Perry should be selected as the GOP's White House candidate in 2012; I am saying that he has a great shot at being nominated.
Republicans are going to do well -- perhaps very well -- in the midterm elections because voters are frustrated and angry, as evidenced by the passion of the tea party movement. But a number of the tea party favorites are going to lose in November, and Republicans will not be able to get anything done in Washington because, at best, they will have slim majorities in Congress. President Obama will block any attempts to roll back his initiatives.
So voter anger, especially among Republicans, won't go away. It will be like a boiling teapot, and the midterms aren't going to be enough to let the steam out. The pot will continue to boil away, and the steam will look for another place to vent. That opening will be the presidential nominating process.
Two years is a really long time in politics. Dowd's voter anger continues to boil scenario is possible, but definitely under 50%. 2012 won't be the same political environment as 2010. For one thing, it'll be more partisan, as presidential election years are. Plus, ObamaCare will have lost some of its motivating impact on Republicans.
Secondly, Dowd goes on to argue that all the current Republican possibilities are marred by not speaking passionately about being anti-Washington...except for Sarah Palin. I'm not terribly convinced by this. The campaign hasn't begun yet, so it's a little early to judge whether the message resonates. Sure, there is definitely some message testing going on, especially by Pawlenty and Romney, but no one is out there truly having a sustained dialogue with voters. And, of course, if the political environment changes, then the winning message will probably be a bit different.
Dowd goes on to argue that Perry has a compelling bio, the message, and the practice from running in Texas. True enough, so far as it goes, but beyond some weaknesses Dowd overlooks, more importantly any candidate has to really want to be president. It's a long slog through cold states involving hours spent staring at a wall, phone in hand, asking for money. Perry hasn't particularly shown that he wants to be president enough to do that.
I suppose Perry's public denials wouldn't be that much of an issue. Obama pretty much set the standard by repeatedly saying that he was absolutely not going to run for president at the same time he was planning a presidential bid (see, eg, Game Change. Only in politics do we not call this lying.) On the other hand, it's probably not likely that Perry would get as much of a pass from the press, who won't be nearly as sympathetic to him as they were to primary candidate Obama.
Dowd's column is provoking, but I really don't see it. Not only would I be surprised if Perry ran, I wouldn't rank him as one of the favorites even if I were convinced he was burning to do it.
07 October 2010
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the four-term Texas Republican, hopes it is true that, as has been said, Americans invariably do the right thing -- after exhausting all the alternatives. Regarding the fiscal imbalance that is driving the national debt toward 90 percent of gross domestic product, Americans are running out of alternatives.
The [Obama Deficit] commission is not, Hensarling thinks, "well designed for success." Two-thirds of its members were appointed by Democrats, and any recommendations must be supported by 14 members, meaning a minimum of two Republican appointees.
The commission's co-chairman, Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, has suggested that the commission should endorse balancing federal revenue (it has averaged 18 percent of GDP over the past 30 years) and outlays at 21 percent of GDP. Republicans could embrace this because spending is now 25 percent and, under current law, on reasonable assumptions, will reach 35 percent by 2035.
If this is all the commission does, Hensarling says, it may do more harm than good because it will take the focus off the need to address the long-term structural debt caused by [Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security].
I thought this was a forward looking column. While the original purpose of the commission was quite likely to have been largely political -- as commissions so often are, because they allow hard decisions to be kicked down the road to a later election -- Obama's Spending Commission may end up being a political football if Republicans take the House. Republicans will likely try to force spending cuts, a la 1994, and there will be alot of pressure on the commission to try and come up with something palatable. What the commission produces will probably impact how Obama and Republicans are able to to in order to get political traction.
Rasmussen: Perry 53, White 42
Rasmussen shows big movement for Perry, after having been fairly stable all year long.
750 likely voters, +/- 4% sample error
Not Sure 4
Even two weeks ago, Rasmussen had the race down to 6 points. All the movement since that last poll has been folks undecidededs shifting towards Perry, as White's numbers are the same. It's worth noting that in the Rasmussen polls all year, White pretty much has been unable to crack 42-43%...not terribly surprising for a Democrat in Texas.
Woodward's publisher probably likes it
I just can't let this one go by. Bob Woodward reported that Hillary Clinton could replace Joe Biden as Obama's running mate. Here are Woodward's words:
"It's on the table. Some of Hillary Clinton's advisers see it as a real possibility in 2012. President Obama needs some of the women, Latinos, retirees that she did so well with during the  primaries and, so they switch jobs, not out of the question, and the other interesting question is, Hillary Clinton could run in her own right in 2016 and be younger than Ronald Reagan when he was elected president.
Notice that Woodward doesn't say anything about Obama or his advisers. If this isn't Mark Penn speculating to Bob Woodward, I'd be foncused.
06 October 2010
The easiest way to get polling data
Sign up for Twitter and follow polltrack.
I'm impressed by how many polls he finds nationwide. In my opinion, the single best way to follow polls right now.
Lyceum: Perry 48 White 43
High side, meet low side: the Lyceum poll is out and it has
Perry 48Via a TT tweet.
05 October 2010
Mobile phone on the drive home links.
1. Omar Gallaga writes social media for the Statesman.
Perry and White both use smart phones to keep followers updated via Twitter and Facebook (White has an iPhone, Perry a BlackBerry). Their staffs tote equipment to send videos, photos, status updates, e-mails and blog posts from the road.If I were betting, I'd say that Blackberry users are probably more Republican while iPhones are more likely Dems. Some of that probably has to do with youth, but I bet it is true even controlled for age. Might be wrong though.
2. Peggy Fikac picked up RickvsKay's post to argue that looks have nothing to do with Perry erasing the gender gap. I'm...not going to touch this one.
3. In case you missed it in the primary season, Rick Perry really doesn't care if he doesn't receive a single newspaper editorial board endorsement.
4. Bill White's latest ad:
Thought this was one of White's better ads. I was surprised at the explicit mention of hurricane profiteering.
5. Peggy Fikac looks at transportation funding options.
04 October 2010
Latest polls, latest campaign finance reports...
...both favorable for Rick Perry.
30 days out campaign finance reports are in:
Rick PerryWe'll get one more report in 3 weeks.
Money raised: $8.3M
Cash on hand: $10M
Money raised: $4.7M
Cash on hand: $2.8M
That is definitely not a plus for Bill White. But the relative advantage in cash on hand for the final ad blitz may mask some of White's strength. A good portion of Bill White's support has come from Steve Mostyn, who has been spending millions on 3rd party ads, some from through Back to Basics PAC and some through the DGA*.
Meanwhile, the WFAA-Belo Texas Poll has Rick Perry breaking the all-important 50% mark.
14 points seems a bit high. But when you're about to spend $10M on ads in a month that say Bill White supports ObamaCare (and 65-70% of people are against it), it's probably a nice thing to see.
9/27-10/2, poll by David Iannelli
704 likely voters, +/- 3.7% sample error, out of a 1000 RV sample
Rick Perry 50
Bill White 36
Texas Right direction or not?
52% Right Direction
* Just for the record, while the linked-to post contains conjecture, per OpenSecrets it is also a fact that Mr. Mostyn has contributed at least $400k to the DGA. I would prefer to not be threatened and subpoenad by a trial lawyer like Steve Mostyn did to Texas Watchdog not too long ago. Ah, our legal system!
Gallup's generic ballot
Gallup released their generic ballot today:
46-43 among registered voters
53-40 in a high turnout election
56-38 in a low turnout election
W and Rove got tons of flack for taking a partisan tone into their first mid-term election in 2002, but Obama is doing exactly the same thing. Independents are disillusioned with his performance, and there is no communications plan in the world that can turn that around in a month. He has no choice but to permanently ditch the post-partisan message, roll up his sleeves and play partisan pitbull.
When you get into a month before election, partisan kneejerk emotions do startkicking in. It even happened in 2006, when some late nationwide polls showed a relative resurgence in Republican fervor...right before Republicans got crushed.
As for Texas, if you don't think this is going to trickle down into the Texas House races, then you are quite the gambler.
LATimes takes the bait
Last week I wrote:
So is the DGA targeting Perry? Maybe...but likely not because there are much smarter places for the DGA to spend its money (FL, CA, OH, MA, PA, IL, MD, etc off the top of my head). It is much more likely that an uber-rich political donor is using the DGA to temporarily conceal the source of the money. That way, the media won't report who is funding the attacks, just that the DGA is spending money. Not only does it more or less conceal the source of the funds, but it leads political reporters who aren't paying attention (what's up WaPo?) to write about how the DGA is targeting the campaign, thus creating the illusion that DGA thinks the race is winnable.
Today, the LATimes writes:
Last week, the Democratic Governors Assn. sent a strong message that it thinks the race remains prime for an upset, paying for a television ad that attacks Perry as an out-of-touch career politician. The group -- also targeting races in California and Florida -- has contributed $2 million directly to the White campaign, more than it has ever given for a Texas gubernatorial race.
White is "by far the strongest candidate [in Texas] that we've had in decades," said Nathan Daschle, the association's executive director.
It's sad when thwarting disclosure has the side-benefit of misleading journalists.
Lots of folks searching for Bill White and Rick Perry
If google hits are anything, voters are really starting to search for Bill White and Rick Perry starting the last few days. The trend is up over last week, and way up over last month.
That's all from me for a few hours, I'm finalizing my Wharton MBA application.
01 October 2010
Start of October weekend links
1. Am I really defending the DGA here? I guess I am. Politipinion has rated the DGA's anti-Perry attack ads as "pants on fire." Really? For what?
You think injecting 11- and 12-year-old girls with a controversial drug, without a parent's consent, is a good idea. You think it's right to use a government takeover of Texas homes and property so foreign companies can get rich. You spend taxpayer money on a fancy mansion while Texas faces an $18 billion deficit. On the issues, 25 years as a politician has changed Rick Perry, for the worse.To be honest, the problem with the DGA's ad is more that it is lame and unlikely to be terribly effective than that it is false. I would probably rate it more like half-true. My understanding is that there was a parental opt-out to the vaccine executive order. As for the rest, it might be highly exaggerated and xenophobic, but eminent domain is essentially a government takeover. Perry is spending taxdollars on a fancy mansion: I'm happy that he is, because it'd be really embarrassing if Perry pulled a Huckabee and lived in a trailer, but it isn't false.
If I were a liberal trial lawyer bankrolling the DGA ad, I'd be annoyed that my millions were being used for a lame ad, not that it was ridiculously untruthful.
2. Dallas Voice talks to Annise Parker with a heavy focus on gay issues. Not terribly surprising for a gay community newspaper, I suppose.
Parker came out in high school. In college she founded Rice University's first LGBT group and began her political career as president of the Houston Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus.As I've written about before, when it became clear that the next mayor of Houston would be one of three Democrats, I thought it was pretty clear that Parker was the best choice of the three for mayor. She is who she is: a fairly no-nonsense, candid politician.
During each campaign, the GLBT Political Caucus and her partner, Kathy Hubbard, have always been included in her literature.
"That way I owned it," she said. "Kathy describes our relationship as not being out of the closet but being out on the front lawn," she said.
With the November election approaching, Parker said she is remaining officially neutral in the state's races.
"To represent my city I have to get along with everyone," she said.
As mayor of the state's largest city, Parker said she's had more contact lately with Gov. Rick Perry than former Houston mayor Bill White.
"But I am absolutely livid that Rick Perry has an attack ad on Bill White that features me," she said. "I don't want to be used as a wedge in that campaign."
Parker said that Perry used a quote of something she said while controller. She said it was not out of context and might have even been impolitic to say at the time.
She had been criticizing Bill White's administration as mayor for years, but for some reason the Austin press corps didn't notice. When she inherited lots of problems, she wasn't just going to keep quiet.
I have voted for Rick Perry in all but one general election for statewide office.
But one thing troubles me this year more than in years past. I have joked that if Jesus Christ himself were governor, I would not want him to serve more than 10 years because no one should be able to appoint ALL the members of the state's important boards and commissions. At least Jesus probably wouldn't have to raise money for his campaigns. But Rick Perry does, and he looks to his appointees. A new report by Texans for Public Justice finds that 20 percent of Perry's money has come from people he has appointed to jobs.
I find this strange. It begs the question: compared to what? Is it different than any other governor? Would Bill White be different? Based on his time as mayor, White would probably be worse.
I'd note that that $17M contains things like $600k from Phil Gramm's leftover Senate campaign funds. Wow, so scandalous!
4. 4 years ago we had the real men of genius parodies that skewered Chris Bell and Carole Strayhorn (sorta). This year, the Perry campaign has parodied the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World.
Truthfully the real man of genius ads were better. Funniest part was definitely the end.
Cato gives Perry a B
Libertarian thinktank Cato ranked Rick Perry the 8th-11th (4 way tie) best governor in the US from a limited government perspective, giving him a B overall. Only 4 governors earned an A. Here's what they said about Perry:
Governor Perry has generally avoided tax increases during his long tenure, but he has not cut state taxes or reduced the size of state government. In 2003, he signed into law a package of tax and fee increases. In 2006, he approved a major business tax overhaul that replaced the corporate franchise tax with a modified gross receipts tax called the Texas Margin Tax. The new tax hit a much broader array of businesses and increased state-level taxes by more than $3 billion annually.41 The $3 billion of added state revenues was used to reduce local proper-ty taxes, but the overall effect of the package has been to centralize government power in the state and reduce beneficial tax competition among local jurisdictions. In 2009, Perry supported an increase in the exemption amount for the Margin Tax. On spending, he has presided over moderate increases in the Texas general fund budget. In 2010, he proposed an amendment to the state constitution to require a two-thirds vote in both legislative chambers to increase taxes. He has also proposed an amendment to limit increases in the state budget to no more than inflation plus population growth.
Given that White left Houston bankrupt, any attempt to get to the right of Perry would boomerang. Still, rather interesting that three Democrats nationwide beat Perry on a libertarian scorecard.