Keyword: Democratic Primary
The Second Reading Podcast: Run-Off Election Results and Assessing How Competitive Texas will be in November (Recorded July 21, 2020)
For this week's Second Reading Podcast, Jim Henson and Joshua Blank discuss the run-off election results, with a particular focus on the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, as well as the first (of likely many) conversations assessing Texas' competitiveness in the 2020 elections.
Bereft of a candidate with statewide stature and drowned out by the roar of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic calamity, the statewide run-off election to choose a Democratic nominee to challenge John Cornyn’s bid for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate limped to a conclusion Tuesday night, when self-declared outsider M.J. Hegar defeated longtime State Senator Royce West of Dallas by about 4 percentage points. The Texas-politics-as usual feel of this likely evasion, amplified by such a radically changed political environment – the renewed confrontation with racism, the pandemic, the associated economic crash – raise a question: Do fundamental assumptions about both candidates’ positioning made in the early stages of the campaign last year still work for them?
While we should expect only a very small fraction of the eligible electorate, or even of registered voters, to show up for run-off elections, there is a pretty good crop of run-off races for party nominations. The composition of the electorate is the big unknown here, which has made any early public polling in these races difficult, and, in particular, has contributed to making the public polling in the U.S. Senate run-off a pretty speculative enterprise. But we do have a lot of data from the University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll conducted very recently (June 19-29), as well as a lot of comparison and trend data, to illustrate the volatile and generally worried mood of the electorate.
Sanders' success in Texas is an expression of a real change that, given the very demographics Democrats have been anticipating for years, will continue to shape the party’s electoral fortunes.
Texas Democrats, like Democrats elsewhere, put health care at or near the top of their lists of most important problems. But they have significant disagreements among themselves over what to do about it.
The February 2020 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll caught Bernie Sanders’ apparent rise and troubling times for Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential nominating contest, even as the race changes on a seemingly day-to-day basis heading into the end of the beginning of the delegate-earning phase of the contest. While the flow of the Democratic race remains rapid and unpredictable, Texans’ views of Congress are still, deep, and fetid. The impact of the impeachment process and its outcome were similarly settled, especially along partisan lines, though the attitudes of independents could potentially produce tricky undercurrents for incumbents. Donald Trump is getting some credit in Texas for a good economy even as his other job approval ratings remain deeply divided. Beneath all the Democratic presidential shifting and Trumpian chaos, the Democrats attempting to earn the right to challenge John Cornyn continued to struggle for attention -- good news for the incumbent. Find more on these points below.
In an alternate universe envisioned by Beto O’Rourke’s fan base about a year ago, this weekend might have witnessed his breakout performance at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Liberty and Justice Dinner on Friday, followed by the release of a University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll showing him leading the Democratic presidential primary field in his home state, poised to make a strong showing in Iowa and turn Texas blue while on the way to changing the Electoral College map for 2020 and beyond as he rid the country of Donald Trump and swept into the White House.
The real world looks a little different today.
At this, admittedly, extremely early stage in the process, let’s take a look at where each stands among Texas voters, and in particular, Texas Democrats and liberals ahead of the first Democratic debates.
Was the disappointment in O’Rourke’s performance warranted? Even a preliminary look at data from the campaign and election suggests it isn’t.
With NPR referencing Texas' first in the nation primary and Chuck Todd using last weekend’s Meet the Press “Data Download” segment to develop his “hunch” about a Democratic wave in Texas based on early voting totals, the Texas primary elections will be in the spotlight this week. The eve of primary election day seems a good time to review the non-trial ballot polling data from the February University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll. We asked several questions unrelated to the horse races – about which attitudes were fairly underdeveloped when we were collecting data, as expected – that provide some information about the political terrain upon which the primaries will be fought by a small sliver of the Texas electorate.