And the Winner is… No One

UT gubernatorial poll clarifies little

Perry (l) and Friedman: The hair versus the hat in 2010? Maybe not
Perry (l) and Friedman: The hair versus the hat in 2010? Maybe not

According to the prognosticators, the next gubernatorial election is going to be Gov. Rick Perry versus Kinky Friedman. Digging down through the numbers on the latest UT Texas Politics poll that provides this match-up, the reality may be that there are no front runners.

On the Democratic slate, professional self-publicist Friedman leads the field on 12% among all respondents who plan to vote in the Democratic primary and 13% amongst registered voters who intend to vote D.

The Kinkster shouldn't get too excited. One, he's running behind both "Someone Else" (13%/14%) and "Undecided" (64%/63%). Two, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, isn't actually running and still got 7%. Three, rumored runners Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and former Travis County DA Ronnie Earle weren't explicitly named. And four, with a 6% margin of error, he could really be running anywhere between 7% and 19%. However, he can be happier than Tom Scheiffer, who is sucking air on 2% to 3%.

Amongst prospective and registered Republicans, Perry has the incumbent's advantage, beating Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX, 38%/38% to 26%/27%, with "Undecided" running 26%/27%: Factor in the 5% margin of error, and this is nearly a statistical dead heat.

The accepted knowledge is that this perceived lead means Hutchison is slipping against Perry, since she was ahead. In fact, Hutchison was running 37%/36% to Perry's 29%/30% in the same poll in March with a 6% margin. So the statistically cautious analysis is that the two are arguably neck-and-neck, with around a third of voters still looking around or elsewhere.

Back in 2006, Perry dominated the primary with 86% (parlaying that into a 39% share in the general), so this proves he's still in a fight. These numbers are also from before the special session, so may be seriously outdated. Plus, with uber-conservative Debra Medina off the poll but on some Tea Party t-shirts, Perry can't be much more comfy than Kinky.

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Rick Perry, Kirk Watson, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Kinky Friedman, Election 2010, Governor's Office, Debra Medina

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