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New UT/Texas Trib Poll Sheds Light on Primary Races
Updated: Monday, February 24 2014, 11:49 AM CST
A brand new snapshot of the Texas primary landscape indicates several top contests could head into overtime. The findings of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll are giving contours to a landscape that has until now been largely unilluminated by comprehensive polling. Coming out just eight days before the March 4 election, they also are jolting campaign offices across the state.
Both top gubernatorial candidates appear to have more than enough support in their respective primary races to begin looking forward to November's general election. But State Sen. Wendy Davis is trailing Attorney General Greg Abbott by 11 percent in that hypothetical matchup, according to the poll. However, with 47 percent supporting Abbott and 36 percent for Davis, the Democrat from Fort Worth could carve an unlikely path to victory by gathering a substantial portion of the 17 percent of voters who haven't made up their minds.
The poll adds fire to the four-man battle for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor by forecasting a run-off between incumbent David Dewhurst and State Sen. Dan Patrick. 37 percent of respondents favored Dewhurst, who says this will likely be his last campaign, while 31 percent back Patrick, a fiery conservative from Houston. The poll shows Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples coming in third with 17 percent and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson trailing the pack with 15 percent of support. If the numbers hold true, Dewhurst and Patrick would advance to the May run-off. In deflating but unsurprising news for Democrats, any of the four Republican candidates would beat State Sen. Leticia Van De Putte in the November election, according to the poll.
Other top statewide races heading for a run-off include the Republican battle for attorney general and state comptroller. In the former, the poll shows State Rep. Dan Branch enjoying a four-point lead over State Sen. Ken Paxton, while former gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina outpolls State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran by 13 points.
Sen. John Cornyn's quest for a third term will likely go unimpeded by a number of scrappy rivals who have had better luck at generating headlines than they have voter support, according to the poll. The poll suggests Cornyn leads his closest competitor, U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, by more than 45 points and has enough support to avoid a run-off.
The Democratic primary for senate holds more unsavory news for the party that's suffered a glut of viable statewide candidates in recent history. Activist Kesha Rogers leads her nearest opponent, dentist David Alameel, 35 percent to 27 percent. Rogers is an apostle of controversial gadfly Lyndon LaRouche and her platform calls for the impeachment of President Obama, manned missions to the moon and Mars, an end to "Wall Street genocide," and an economy based on, among other things, thermonuclear fusion energy. The Democratic Party has in the past discouraged voters from supporting Rogers.
Pars through the poll's findings here.