And now for something completely different: Rick Perry and Bill White are virtually tied in the race for governor, according to a poll done for Texas Watch by Republican pollster Hill Research Consultants.
Perry got 42 percent of the support to White's 41 percent; 14 percent were unsure and 3 percent said neither or refused to answer. The pollsters talked to 600 Texas voters from August 25 to 29; the poll's margin of error is +/- 4.0 percent.
That virtual tie differs from other recent polls. Just last week, Wilson Research Strategies, polling for GOPAC Texas, had Perry ahead by 12 percentage points, and the most recent poll from Rasmussen Reports gave the incumbent an advantage of 8 percentage points. The Wilson poll of 1,001 likely voters was done August 29 to 31 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. Rasmussen's automated poll of 500 likely voters was done on August 22 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.
Texas Watch, a non-profit insurance watchdog group, found Perry ahead with independent voters and with people who are sympathetic to the Tea Party wave. On their own issues, they found that voters think insurance rates are too high and think the state's regulation of that industry favors insurers over the people who buy insurance. Most Texans — 84 percent — think the state's insurance commissioner should be elected rather than appointed, and 73 percent think companies should have to get the state's approval before rates can go up. The detailed results are attached (crosstabs, we're told, will be ready later today, and we'll post 'em when we've got 'em).