Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Cruz, Walker Up in Texas; Bush, Perry Still Lagging

In Presidential campaign on February 25, 2015 at 10:47 am

The University of Texas and the Texas Tribune news publication teamed to release a poll of potential Republican 2016 primary voters (YouGov; Feb. 6-15; 1,200 Texas adults; 547 sampled-matched Republican primary voters) and found home state Sen. Ted Cruz and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading the pack by a relatively substantial margin.

Falling back into single digits were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas’ longest-serving governor, Rick Perry. Thus, we see one more political survey attesting to Gov. Walker’s strength and ex-Gov. Bush’s early weakness.

The UT/Tribune polls have previously not been particularly reliable, but in this instance they teamed up with the international survey research company, YouGov, which has generally produced credible results around the world. This poll, however, appears to have its flaws.

The 10-day information-gathering period is long, the questionnaire was administered through the Internet — a common YouGov practice — and, the sampling universe was not screened for registered voters, but instead the individuals were sample-matched from previous voter and demographic data to cast the Republican sample cell. The pollsters themselves suggest the polling margin of error is greater than 4.1 points, but it realistically could be even higher.

Though the poll’s conclusions can be contested, their overall findings are reasonable when compared with other polling data conducted in early nomination states. They certainly concur with the idea that Gov. Walker has entered the first tier of candidates, and that former Gov. Bush is lagging behind.

The fact that Sen. Cruz scores on an even footing with Walker is not surprising, since this is a survey of his home-state Republican electorate. In actuality, as the pollsters indicate, the converse is true. Cruz’s standing represents a major drop from the UT/Tribune October survey that posted the Lone Star State senator to a 25-point advantage over the Wisconsin chief executive.

The poll’s other major mover, but in a downward fashion, is former Gov. Perry. In October, he was second to Cruz, registering 14 percent but now finds himself only in the eight percent range. Obviously, this is a terrible showing before a Texas Republican electorate that was instrumental in electing Perry to statewide office six separate times.

Jeb Bush scores only nine percent, which brings him into a tie with Maryland retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. The doctor continues to perform very well in state surveys, considering he is virtually unknown nationally. It’s a further indication that the fledgling Bush campaign is slow to start considering that Texas is a state that elected his father to Congress and his brother to the governorship twice. Both presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush each carried the state every time they were on the national ballot.

The other Republican candidates, including former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Marco Rubio, 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, and Gov. Chris Christie all scored five percent or less. The actual results are listed below:

(547 sample size)
Sen. Ted Cruz ……………… 20%
Gov. Scott Walker …………. 19%
Dr. Ben Carson ……………… 9%
Ex-Gov. Jeb Bush …………… 9%
Ex-Gov. Rick Perry …………. 8%
Ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee ….. 5%
Sen. Rand Paul ………………. 4%
Sen. Marco Rubio …………… 4%
Ex-Gov. Sarah Palin ………… 3%
Gov. Chris Christie …………. 2%
Gov. Bobby Jindal …………… 1%
Gov. John Kasich …………… 1%
Ex-Sen. Rick Santorum …… 1%
Sen. Lindsey Graham ……… 0%
Carly Fiorina ………………… 0%
John Bolton ………………….. 0%
* Texas will run an open proportional 2016 Republican primary.

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