AUSTIN, Texas — As Breitbart Texas previously reported, a recent KHOU-TV/Houston Public Media poll asking likely Texas voters for their preferences for the Governor’s race showed that Wendy Davis was losing to Greg Abbott 47 percent to 32 percent, losing about 8 points since launching her controversial “empty wheelchair” ad attacking Abbott. Now, two more polls have been released that polled voters after the ad was launched, showing similarly poor numbers for Davis.
One of these polls, conducted by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune, surveyed 1,200 registered voters between October 10 — the day Davis’ wheelchair ad launched — and October 19. The surveyors then screened for likely voters in each of the major races in Texas, and out of 866 likely voters, they preferred Abbott over Davis 54 percent to 38 percent, a sixteen point gap, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.33 percent. The poll also showed Abbott still maintaining a lead among women voters, 48 percent to 46 percent, and winning men 61 percent to 32 percent.
Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, noted that “Wendy Davis has not led in a single poll in this race,” and therefore “[t]he drama of the outcome is not who wins, but what the margin will be.”
Nevertheless, Davis’ communications director Zac Petkanas once again took up the battle on Twitter, arguing with a long list of reporters, political commentators, and others that these polls were all unfairly skewed, and boldly predicting that Davis would win by a percentage point. Petkanas seemed especially incensed that the UT/Texas Tribune poll was conducted as an internet survey, mentioning that repeatedly and mocking the poll as “a complete joke.”
However, the results of this UT/Texas Tribune poll were in line with other polls tracked by Real Clear Politics in this race, which is currently showing as their RCP Average Abbott winning, 51 percent to Davis’ 38 percent. The Texas Lyceum poll, which Petkanas cited in his tweets as more favorable to Davis, used a sample that was skewed younger, more liberal, single, and with a higher approval rating for President Barack Obama than is currently reflected in the Texas electorate. Even so, Davis still trailed Abbott by nearly ten points.
Moreover, a second recent poll, conducted by Austin-based public relations firm Crosswind Communications, was a live telephone survey and showed an even bigger margin of victory for Abbott, 52.4 percent to Davis’ 31 percent. Five hundred likely voters were questioned between October 9 through October 12 — mostly after the wheelchair ad launched on October 10 — and the poll had a margin of error of 4.33 percent. Crosswind President Thomas Graham noted Abbott’s “commanding lead” and commented that “Texas remains a red state, at least among likely voters in non-presidential years, and Wendy Davis does not appear to have made a dent in that strength.”
Despite the harsh poll numbers, Davis is showing no signs of altering her course during the final weeks before election day. The campaign did everything it could to promote the wheelchair ad for about a week, and then recently engaged in a bizarre online attack insinuating that Abbott, whose wife is Hispanic, opposed interracial marriages. Additionally, if current trends continue, more negative ads can be expected from the Davis campaign. According to the Center for Public Integrity, the Davis campaign has run ads that were completely or partially negative, attacking Abbott, more than 18,000 times, compared to only 973 times a solely positive ad was run. In comparison, Abbott has run positive ads 27,400 times and negative ads 6,958 times.
Early voting is underway in Texas and continues through October 31. Election Day is November 4.
[Disclaimer: The author of this piece was previously employed by Crosswind Communications.]
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter at @rumpfshaker.