Noriega Is for Real – and Texas Is in Play?

Rasmussen polls show that Democratic hopes may be more than fantasy

Could the days of Republican dominance in Texas be coming to an end? As we've noted before, the GOP's majority in the Texas House of Representatives is down to a slender five (out of 150) seats.

Another big prize for the Democrats would be cracking the complete stranglehold the Republicans have over every single statewide elected office – and today, a poll by Rasmussen Reports indicates that Houston state Rep. Rick Noriega actually has a real shot at unseating incumbent U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. Another Rasmussen poll shows what would have been pure fantasy just a couple of elections ago: Texas could actually be in play in the presidential race.

In a telephone survey of 500 likely Texas voters on May 1, Cornyn polled at 47%, Noriega at 43%. Margin of error is plus/minus 4 points.

In the presidential race, Sen. John McCain polls at 49% versus Sen. Hillary Clinton's 43%, and 48% versus Sen. Barack Obama's 43%. (Same sample, same MOE.) Could we actually get visits and ads from presidential candidates here in Texas during a general election? It would be the first time I could remember such a thing in the 21 years since I passed legal voting age.

To be sure, this state still leans conservative. And I'd really like to see a bigger polling sample to make this really believable. But for the Dems to even get within spitting distance is a major accomplishment for a party that was being read last rites earlier this decade. Or perhaps, more accurately, a non-accomplishment for the GOP and its growing track record of incompetence.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Elections, Election 2008, Rick Noriega, John Cornyn, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama

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