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Upset brewing in Texas runoff? PPP says Cruz up big

Upset brewing in Texas runoff? PPP says Cruz up big

The Dewhurst campaign released an internal poll earlier today showing Dewhurst up:

With less than two days until the runoff for the GOP nomination in the Texas Senate race, Lt. Gov David Dewhurst has a narrow lead over rival Ted Cruz, according to a Dewhurst campaign internal poll obtained by Hotline on Call.

The survey, which was conducted this past Tuesday through Thursday, shows Dewhurst leading Cruz, 48 percent to 43 percent.

The poll was taken in the middle of the early voting period, which ended on Friday. Among voters who said they had already cast an early vote, Dewhurst holds a 49 percent to 42 percent advantage. He leads 50 percent to 41 percent among voters who said they planned to vote on Election Day.

But the only independent poll, from PPP, shows Cruz up by 10, with full results to be released soon:

While not a perfect analogy, this would mirror the late surge Richard Mourdock showed against Richard Lugar in the final week of the primary.

If the impact of Palin is as PPP estimates, this quote from Dewhurst’s campaign could prove to be famous last words (h/t Charles):

Dewhurst’s campaign argued that the cavalry of outside forces coming to Cruz’s aid reinforced their own message.

“We’d probably pay their airfare to get them in town,” said Dewhurst adviser Dave Carney when asked to assess the impact of Palin and DeMint’s visit. “It’s good for us. It’s a clear delineation of Washington vs. Texas.”

Update: PPP’s analysis now is posted here. PPP has been pretty good at polling elections, even though it is a Democratic polling firm and works for Daily Kos, but I’m not a big fan of its spin, so take the spin with a grain of salt:

… Cruz’s victory is driven by 4 things: the Tea Party, the enthusiasm of his supporters, a generational divide within the Texas Republican ranks, and the lack of regard the party base currently holds for Rick Perry.

Cruz is ahead by a whooping 75-22 margin with Tea Party voters, more than making up for a 56-39 deficit to Dewhurst with voters who don’t consider themselves members of that movement. There has been too much of a tendency to ascribe any Republican primary upset over the last few years to Tea Party voters, but this is one case where it’s well justified.

Cruz has a 63-33 advantage with voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ about voting in Tuesday’s runoff election. He also has a 49-45 advantage with those describing themselves as ‘somewhat excited.’ The only reason this race is even remotely competitive is Dewhurst’s 59-31 lead with voter who say they’re ‘not that excited’ about voting. It’s an open question whether those folks will really show up and if they don’t it’s possible Cruz could end up winning by closer to 20 points.

The greater excitement among Cruz voters can also be measured by their eagerness to get out and cast their ballots during the early voting period. Cruz leads 55-40 among those who say they’ve already voted, so Dewhurst will likely need a huge advantage among election day voters to overcome the deficit. But Cruz has a 49-44 lead with those who have yet to vote too….

Runoffs are unpredictable and it still seems possible that Dewhurst could win on Tuesday, but for now it looks like all the momentum since the primary has gone in Ted Cruz’s direction.

The full PPP Poll results are here.


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If it pans out… Palin knows how to pick ’em. For a “stupid” girl, she certainly outsmarts news networks and progressive politicians and their supporters.

Latest tweet from ppp:
“Cruz is up 55-40 with those who already voted so Dewhurst really needs a huge election day turnout to have any chance”

I think Cruz has the momentum, keep your fingers crossed. It’s looking pretty promising. Today’s my birthday so I will make it an official wish. I am adding it to the big one that this is the last birthday You-Know-Who celebrates in office.

With the Tea Party focused on this race nationally nad a major rally for Cruz in Dallas Thursday, this would not reflect well for any Texan claims to being a stronghold of conservative grassroots activism should Cruz lose.

That “stupid” girl makes multi millions against all odds, while the wise news people are either claiming disability or unemployment.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to elkh1. | July 29, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    There is a distinct similarity in the ways Reagan was viewed and treated by the same Usual Suspects and the ways these same folks treat Palin. I shudder to think what the tolerant, inclusive Left would’ve tweeted about Ronaldus Magnus had that device been around back in those days.

    Get ’em, Sarah!

Better stock up on those fireworks, professor!

Cruz says that because his district is a lock for a Republican he will be able to use his time after the primary for helping other conservative candidates around the country. That’s a big deal, because Texas is a huge money machine for conservatives.

    Beldar in reply to brett_mcs. | July 30, 2012 at 1:24 am

    With due respect, I think you may be a bit confused. Cruz isn’t running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, but for a seat in the U.S. Senate; his prospective “district” comprises the entire State of Texas. And the primary has already taken place; Dewhurst and Cruz, as the two candidates receiving the most primary votes, are now in a primary-election runoff.

This reminds me of the Scott Brown win over Martha Coakley in terms of the short time span in which one candidate was able to come out of ‘nowhere.’ And the media didn’t see it coming until it was too late.

NC Mountain Girl | July 29, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Could it be possible that Dewhurst advisor Dave Carney is related to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney? What else could explain the odd statement to the effect that Palin = Washington establishment?

Intrade has Cruz’s chances at 90%.

(In contrast, iirc just before the Obamacare decision, it had a 70% chance that the individual mandate would be overturned. Intrade was wrong about the outcome but it correctly recognized that the uncertainty was significant.)

Juba Doobai! | July 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm

If Cruz wins, the GOPE will move in on him and say, “that Sarah Palin, she can’t help ya, fuggedabouder. You wanna get re-elected, you gotta vote with us.”

If Cruz wins, Cheney will seek Palin’s endorsement for his daughter.

TrooperJohnSmith | July 29, 2012 at 11:33 pm

In the film, “A Bridge Too Far,” a scene towards the end shows the Allied generals viewing the embattled Arnhem Bridge from a distance, where a shrinking pocket of embattled British Paras are being reduced by superior German forces. These generals know that they came so close to doing the unthinkable but came up just a bit short. They offer reasons for the failure: It was Nijmegen; it was the single road; it was after Nijmegen; it was the fog, back in England.

As men do, they look back and wonder what happened. They seemingly genuflect in the face of defeat, wondering, all the while knowing deep down what it was.

Presuming Cruz wins, I suspect Dewhurst will have such a moment with his people. But David Dewhurst will know: it was Joe Straus; it was the proposed state income tax; it was the proposed state property tax; it was defeating the TSA anti-groping law; it was the weird deference towards Democrats; it was the arrogance and filth of the campaigns.

Let’s hope. And pray, too, that he has such a genuflection, metaphorical or real, before the altar of defeat.

I was amused by the ad Huckabee cut for Dewhurst, stating that Washington forces were trying to influence the election, and that we should elect a true conservative like Dewhurst.

Does Dewhurst think Huckabee is some sort of conservative icon? If I were in a Republican primary, I’d ask Mike Huckabee to endorse my opponent.

The nice thing about this Cruz Dewhurst fight has been that all the “conservatives” like Huckabee and DAN PATRICK have shown their true colors.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to sdharms. | July 30, 2012 at 1:43 am

    I’ve known Dan Patrick a long time and have no doubts about his conservative credentials. If you’re from the Houston area, you may’ve also listened to him on the radio, and before that, on television. He’s a good guy, as real as they come. The next time we get a chance to visit, I’ll ask him why, as a member of the Tea Party, he didn’t embrace Cruz.

    My opinion? As a Texas Senator, he works closely with Dewhurst, and depending on David’s future political fortunes, Dan may have to work with his again. Dan is a also very loyal kind of guy. I suspect the truth lies somewhere between these two truths.

    Disappointed? Yes, I am, but I also understand that politics places people on different and unexpected trajectories at times.

      Trooper JOhnsmith… you couldnt be more wrong. I have personally been on the recieving end of Dan Patricks abuse of power. He is a “good ole boy” he is a phony, and I will work for his unelection. He is of the same cloth as Dewhurst. Forget about his rhetoric, his actions speak volumes, and by actions you will know who men really are.

        TrooperJohnSmith in reply to PWHARMS. | July 30, 2012 at 5:05 am

        Well, I guess we’ll just have to disagree.

        Things do happen, and here in this medium, you can’t really give me the facts I need to judge your situation. From my perspective, I’ve known Dan for many years, and I think a person’s record over the long haul proves their worth rather than anecdotal evidence. A lot of people feel the same way. However, at the end of the day, you as a voter will have to decide what your conscience tells you to do. That’s out of my hands.

      Bingo. The Lt. Gov.’s displeasure could quite literally result in a state senator’s office going without toilet paper for months. The Lt. Gov. dominates committee appointments, the legislative calendar, pretty much everything of any consequence in the Texas Senate. Any state senator who endorses Cruz is abandoning any ability to accomplish anything on behalf of his constituents as long as Dewhurst remains Lt. Gov., which could be forever. If I put aside my anger at Dewhurst for what I believe to have been an unethical and dishonest primary campaign, I have to acknowledge that he’s been effective in office and adequately conservative, if (for my tastes) a bit too cozy with Traditional Texas Establishment figures from both sides of the aisle.

      I’m a Cruz supporter, but I’m certainly not prepared to excommunicate Dewhurst supporters, especially those in Patrick’s position.

        TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Beldar. | July 30, 2012 at 5:10 am

        You said it a heck of a lot better than I could.

        People outside of Texas don’t understand that the Texas Lt. Governor is the most powerful in the nation. That came about as a result of Reconstruction, where the Governor had to take a loyalty oath to the Union, while the Lt. Governor did not. The fear of a carpetbagger (from up Nawth) or a scallywag (a home-grown opportunist) becoming Governor created this decentralizing of executive power in the state. To say the Governor and Lt. Governor must get along and work together is an understatement.

    PWHARMS in reply to sdharms. | July 30, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Hey MOM!!!

PPP is actually not that great at polling over time. What their MO is is to consistently run the polls in a way that capture the result they want, then just before an election, they will run one or two honest poll. That’s why they keep getting trusted, because their final polls tend to be accurate. So if they are saying Cruz at this point, it’s probably accurate.

My take, as a conservative Texas law-blogger who foresaw the Palin Veep nomination way back in June 2008, and who enthiastically endorsed Ted Cruz on January 24, 2012:

(1) Dewhurst started with a VAST name recognition advantage among Texas Republicans. But he has never had a serious primary or general election challenge in his previous state-wide races, and his actual performance in office as lieutenant governor was obscure except among those who closely follow state-house politics. So Dewhurst’s support was the proverbial mile wide while only an inch deep.

Dewhurst therefore should have pulled out all the stops against Cruz for the primary. Dewhurst was counting on the third and fourth candidates in the race (former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert and former SMU running back/sportscaster Craig James) to draw most of their support away from Cruz. Instead they drew most of their support from Dewhurst — depriving Dewhurst of the simple primary-election majority that would have prevented a run-off.

(2) By merely forcing a runoff, Cruz instantly gained the strategic advantage, and he’s exploiting it adeptly. He lacked Dewhurst’s name recognition, but his support among politically aware movement conservatives — even pre-Tea Party! — was deep and passionate. Based on Cruz’ superb performances before the U.S. Supreme Court as Texas’ solicitor general, we were already talking, writing, and blogging about Ted Cruz as a potential U.S. Senator back during Dubya’s first term.

Cruz has built on that support very steadily, and the Tea Party connections and the endorsements from folks like Gov. Palin and Dr. Paul (the younger) have indeed brought him visibility. But when Dewhurst has asserted that most or all of Cruz’ support comes from out-of-state generally or Washington, D.C., in particular, that accusation has rung false in the ears of anyone who’s been paying attention.

Dewhurst and Cruz were both already doing some hard-hitting negative advertising even before the original primary, but during the run-up to the runoff, Dewhurst has gone so negative that it’s backfired on him. Tens of thousands of conservative Texas Republicans — Tea Party or not — who’d previously been generally aware and generally approving of David Dewhurst as lieutenant governor have found, to the disappointment of many, that Dewhurst has actually made quite a few legislative compromises that undercut his claim to be a thorough-going conservative, and, worse, that Dewhurst has a real mean streak.

Here’s another bit of analysis you won’t find from PPP or dKos:

A lot of negative campaign tactics are insulting to the intelligence of Texas conservatives. And the relatively more committed and relatively better-educated/informed Texas Republicans who are likely to show up for a primary runoff election are exactly the kind of voters most likely to be turned off by negative campaigning.

As a result of Dewhurst overplaying his hand by going so negative, a lot of people who would happily have voted for Dewhurst in November if he’d won the primary outright have now decided that they don’t want to vote for Dewhurst at all — ever again — for anything.

Finally, some of Dewhurst’s starting advantage and name recognition was closely bound up with the governor with whom he’s run so frequently, and so successfully, in state-wide elections: Rick Perry. (That’s somewhat ironic, because until Perry endorsed Dewhurst against Cruz, Perry and Dewhurst had not been particularly close; at most they could have been described as friendly rivals for power in Austin.)

Perry’s disastrous presidential campaign didn’t hurt him as badly in Texas as it did outside the state, but it still remains to be seen just how badly Perry’s self-immolation will hurt his own long-term standing with the Texas conservatives who’ve kept returning him to the governor’s mansion. My own sense is that Perry is himself now vulnerable to a primary challenge in any future statewide race he runs. By endorsing Dewhurst and campaigning against Cruz, Perry has further dismayed a lot of movement conservatives and Tea Partiers who might have forgiven or forgotten Perry’s debate performances last fall. He’s certainly in no position, for example, to challenge in 2014 for the U.S. Senate seat now held by John Cornyn. In any event, the diminution in Perry’s luster means he’s had less that could rub off onto Dewhurst.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to Beldar. | July 30, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Thanks for the great post, Beldar!

    It’s much appreciated…

    Meriadoc in reply to Beldar. | July 30, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for your informative and insightful post! The way you describe the dynamics of the run-off rings true. Let’s hope Tea Party enthusiasm secures a Cruz victory.

theduchessofkitty | July 30, 2012 at 1:53 am

“Cruz’s victory is driven by 4 things: the Tea Party, the enthusiasm of his supporters, a generational divide within the Texas Republican ranks, and the lack of regard the party base currently holds for Rick Perry.”

Yep. Exactly what I saw last Friday.

If the establishment GOP in TX and nationwide are not worried about the power of the Tea Party to take over in revolutionary mode, they should. And they will not forget all the treachery thrown their way, either.

Most importantly, I don’t think the Tea Party will forget how many of their own were stabbed in the back by the establishment GOP – especially when they did it to Sarah Palin.

The Tea Party have long memories and deep grudges. And they will use them.

As for Rick Perry, I don’t want to be in his shoes right now, or in 2014. Especially after Sarah made that remark on the cowboy boots he gave her as a gift.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to theduchessofkitty. | July 30, 2012 at 4:06 am

    Sarah knows how to stick that knife in and make ’em bleed.

    My personal opinion is that Cheney’s insulting comment
    towards Palin is the last straw for conservative tea partiers.

    We have stood by for 4 years listening and reading the crapola the left and rinos have been slinging at Palin.
    We have watched the Romney campaign decimate Newt, etc.
    and continue to rag on Palin. We want Palin to have a prominent speaking role at the convention. The RINO repub group are slinging out excuses like they are facts as to why she will not speak.

    We are done with them. We will watch Romney like hawks.
    We will watch every person elected to the house and senate
    and put “X’s” on their photos and their names on our calendars for when they are up for reelection.

    The rinos have gone too far. Its is very close to over for them. Please tell me I am preaching to the choir!

Ping, in lieu of a trackback.

Juba Doobai! | July 30, 2012 at 4:31 am

A wild hairy wooly thought occurred to me as I was falling asleep last night. Romney might have Palin in mind as his VP.

The big question for me is this: why is everyone rushing to turn him away from Palin? That’s what all the trashing of Palin amounts to. Even Darth Vader jumped on the bandwagon. Oh Darth, I thought I knew ye! Are they playing a game of keep away with Romney who might be looking at the one woman who can hand him the Conservative base, not glumly going along but cheering wildly?

It’s wild. It’s crazy. It’s wooly. But suppose it is true? Suppose his wife Ann wants another mother of five as his VP? Romney wants the base without coming to us and begging. He can have us on a platter with Palin as his VP.

    As much as I like Sarah Palin I think it would be a big mistake to select her as VP. Yes she would excite the base but I think she would hurt Romney’s chances in swing states. Even if Romney loses Penn and Michigan, if the Dems have to campaign hard for those must-win states (for them) then Romney has forced the O campaign onto the defense in “their” territory.

    Palin will kill us in the upper-middle class suburbs. We may argue that it shouldn’t be so … but it is. Good business people (as with generals) pay attention to the facts on the ground – not what “should” be.

      That is so much hooey. Although its only anecdotal, I’ve spoken to many small business owners and their support of a Palin candidacy, either as President or Vice President, is anything BUT improbable.

      Romney couldn’t pick a more capable and seasoned running mate that Sarah Palin. It would all-but guarantee him two-terms as well, because otherwise Sarah would among the most probable challengers to his re-nomination if he appeared weak in 2016. It would set Sarah up for 2020 as well, and she would still be in her 50s at that point. Selecting Sarah is more politically strategic for him than it is for her.

      I get so sick and tired of people that say Sarah Palin turns off the upper middle class. These are the same, exact type of people that ragged on Reagan, yet now count him among the Presidential greats.

      The polls about Sarah’s negatives – they are just liberals concocting ways to tell us “don’t you dare nominate her”… because in the blackest part of their hearts, Sarah is an existential threat to everything they hold dear – their desire for and maintaining their power.

        I’m part of a lonely breed. I’m a small, limited government, free-market capitalist living and working in NYC. There is a visceral dislike of Palin. It’s not worth psycho-analyzing too much because there’s nothing we can do about it.

        And yet … if middle/upper-middle class professional suburbanites around the country are similar to those in the NY and Philly suburbs then I would say to you that Palin would hurt us badly in those areas.

        I greatly admire Sarah Palin. I put a link to my blog below showing my defense of Palin in case you’re thinking that I’m a concern troll.(

        Here’s one post:

        SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 2010

        Don’t Retreat, Instead RELOAD
        Here I am discouraged, hoping against hope that the American people don’t sit for this power grab: that there are still enough people who understand the difference between the rights of a free people and those of a subject people.

        And here comes Sarah Palin with: “Don’t Retreat, Instead RELOAD.”

        Wow! Thank you Sarah.


        and here’s part of another post:

        WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

        Don’t Party Like It’s 1773, Yet!
        Once again the Stupid TeaBaggers’ hero Sarah Palin puts her foot in her mouth. As Markos Moulitsas puts it Sarah is “so smart.” And, as Gwen Ifill so succinctly puts it “party like it 1773! ummm.” How is it possible that this dolt, this Tea Party idiot, Sarah Palin, doesn’t know that the Declaration of Independence took place in 1776!?

        Maybe it’s because the actual “Tea Party” took place on December 16th, 1773 and Sarah Palin was referring to that event and not the Declaration of Independence. Maybe, horror of horrors, Palin isn’t as stupid as you portray her to be.

    Amjean in reply to Juba Doobai!. | July 31, 2012 at 12:13 am

    From your mouth to God’s ear!

joethefatman | July 30, 2012 at 7:49 am

“Cruz is ahead by a whooping 75-22 margin with Tea Party voters”.

Whooping? Whopping maybe. But whooping?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the polling is WEAK this cycle. I dislike referencing ANY poll that has greater than a 3% margin of error. The pollsters should have more pride in their work.

Come on! 665 likely voters? At least they did use “likely voters” instead of merely “registered voters.”

A margin of 3.8% error with a 6% “Undecided” category is a travesty of statistics.

Getting into the poll itself: There’s something WRONG here. Look at page 12 (ideology 2012 GOP Senate Runoff). 71% of the “Very Liberal” ideology are voting for Cruz? Where both the “Somewhat Liberal” and “Moderate” voters break hard for Dewhurst? It’s not a large portion of the poll, but something seems fishy about those numbers.

I’d tread lightly with this poll. There could be an “operation chaos” factor here, with an attempt to demoralize Tea Partiers if Cruz were to lose.

Well, THIS Texan is going to the polls tomorrow (as is my hubby) – Cruz is getting 2 votes from this household.

I like Dewhurst just fine – right where he is….

kbob_in_katy | July 30, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Cruz got my vote. I am distressed by many of the dewhurst ads, and would have trouble trusting him to talk straight to the people.

[…] WE’LL KNOW SOON ENOUGH: Upset brewing in Texas runoff? PPP says Cruz up big. […]