TX-Sen: Second Poll Puts Noriega Within 4 Points
by Jonathan Singer, Fri May 09, 2008 at 10:30:35 AM EDT
We've been watching this race for over a year, but I have to admit, as much hope as I held out for Democrat Rick Noriega to really make a contest out of it, I never really expected it to get this close this soon. But following up on Rasmussen Reports polling released earlier in the week showing Noriega only slightly trailing (though within the margin of error of) freshman Republican Senator John Cornyn down in Texas, a second poll this week shows effectively the same result. Here's the nonpartisan Research 2000 for Daily Kos:
The fact that Cornyn can only managed to get about four in five GOP members to back him in his reelection bid -- about the same level of support from within his own party that Noriega receives despite the fact that the latter hasn't been on the scene for nearly as long -- speaks to the incumbent's problems.
At least in part, some of this discontent could be traced to the unpopularity of George W. Bush even in his "home" state of Texas. According to R2K, just 37 percent of Texas likely voters approve of the job Bush is doing as President while a whopping 63 percent disapprove. Even among Republicans, Bush's approval rating is a relatively weak 68 percent, with 32 percent disapproving. Unless Cornyn can figure out a way to solidify his base and get that number up among Republicans, he's going to have a heck of a time pushing his lead over Noriega outside of the margin of error.
Now before the Democrats get their hopes too high up, it's worth remembering that Cornyn has about 26 times more money in the bank than Noriega. Specifically, that's a $8,688,953 to $329,293 lead in cash-on-hand. Unless Noriega can up that number (and you can help him today through Act Blue), it's going to be awfully tough for him to make use of the political climate in Texas that might actually enable him to become the first Democrat since Lloyd Bentsen (yeah, that Lloyd Bentsen) to win a Senate election in Texas. At the same time, Noriega need not necessarily match Cornyn, only begin to get closer to him, given that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has about $20.5 million more in the bank than the National Republican Senatorial Committee and could help Noriega out if this race is still close in October. This could be a fun one.
Update [2008-5-9 15:3:49 by Jonathan Singer]: Noriega is liveblogging right now for those interested.