Strange things the dailies say

DMN columnist William McKenzie writes something strange:

Bill White is getting a boost as he heads into his party's convention this week. The latest Rasmussen poll shows him trailing Rick Perry by eight points in their governor's race. That may not sound like good news, but the last Rasmussen poll had him trailing Perry by 13 points. And that was last month. So, he has knocked off five points in a short-period of time.
The April 14th Rasmussen poll showed Bill White within 4!

To quote myself directly below:

I calculated the average horserace number based on all 7 Rasmussen polls in 2010. Basically it indicates that the current Perry vs White horserace numbers are about the same as they have been all year.
While in the strictest sense, McKenzie's words are true, it's a pretty bad analysis of the race, to which I'd give about a C- in an undergraduate class. Bill White has momentum because a poll reverted to its mean?

McKenzie also notes Joe Holley's article headlined "Some GOP stalwarts plan to vote for Bill White":

The Houston Chronicle also reported recently how White is gaining the backing of some high-profile Republicans, like Amarillo's Wales Madden. You can read the article here.

Holley's article was...strange. Holley focuses on Wales Madden, Matt Simmons and Billy Mitchell. Wales Madden is a decades-long friend of Bill White, who Bill White helped as a government official (others might see this as the story). Matt Simmons was White's campaign treasurer in his mayoral run. And Billy Mitchell is a rancher who doesn't like the TTC.

Political analysis articles based solely on anecdotes are fraught with danger from the start. Generally they should be used to explain poll results. But of course, we don't have any evidence of that. So far, polls indicate that White trails Perry by a high single digit number....which is about the structural deficit that a Democrat faces against a Republican.

The casual Houston Chronicle might be left with the sense that White is gaining on Perry, but so far we have little evidence that supports this. A few of White's personal friends are planning on voting for him; that's not exactly surprising.

Posted by Evan @ 06/21/10 05:49 PM


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