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The Brief: Sept. 27, 2010

The polls have aligned, and we seem to have a consensus: Bill White's down but not out.

BIll White, Rick Perry at their Primary 2010 reception speeches.

THE BIG CONVERSATION:

The polls have aligned, and we seem to have reached a consensus: Bill White's down but not out.

That was solidified over the weekend by a survey released by Texas' major newspapers, which reported that Gov. Rick Perry leads White among likely voters by 7 percent (46 to 39). The spread nearly resembles that of the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, which gave Perry a 6-point lead.

"It certainly looks like [Perry] is headed for another term," said pollster Mickey Blum, according to the Austin American-Statesman, one of the five newspapers for which the poll was commissioned. "Not that Bill White couldn't get it," he added.

The survey largely found familiar dynamics at play among the state's electorate, with Perry benefiting from anger toward President Barack Obama (58 percent disapprove of his performance), excitement among Republicans and general approval of Texas' economic performance (49 percent say the state is heading in the right direction).

Perry leads among whites, women and older votes, and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. White leads with blacks, Hispanics, independents, and in the Austin area. Both are running even in Houston and San Antonio.

The poll also looked at views of immigration policy, finding that while most support an Arizona-style immigration law, support in the state may be lower than once thought. That showing — 53 percent in favor — may have been the result of the polling language, which described the law and laid out basic arguments for and against it, said Rice University political science professor Mark Jones, according to the Houston Chronicle.

"Once people learn about the law, it actually reduces their support for it," Jones said. "If you just ask about the Arizona-style law … you're almost asking, 'Should we pass legislation to solve immigration?' You're going to get a higher response than if you say, 'We're going to pass this law, but there some potential adverse consequences, one of which is racial profiling.' "

CULLED:

  • After four hours of debate, the State Board of Education voted 7-6 on Friday to approve a resolution warning textbook publishers of "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian" bias in Texas schoolbooks. Board member Rick Agosto, D-San Antonio, on the vote: "This makes us look cuckoo." Check out HuTube for an abbreviated (as in, 70-second) look at the meeting.
  • National Democrats have put Jamie Dorris, the Democratic opponent of embattled state Rep. Joe Driver of Garland, on their target list for support this fall. "This was a competitive race even before local media discovered that the GOP incumbent has allegedly spent the last 18 years skimming taxpayer money for travel expenses — for a total of nearly $50,000 that should not have gone in his own pocket," says the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which might have gotten off on the wrong foot by spelling Dorris' name incorrectly on the site (whoops).
  • Texas could lose more than $260 million in education funding under proposed budget cuts — a figure that has experts calling for an overhaul of the state's school financing system.
  • A new estimate of House reapportionment says Texas will gain four seats.
"Whether we have Rick Perry or Bill White does not matter a hill of beans. We’re still going to hell in a hand-basket." — Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Kathie Glass on the possibility of aiding White by draining votes from Perry. As Politico reports, "While that’s not an eye-popping number in a state that has a history of third-party candidates leaving a significant mark, the rise of Glass could pose problems for Perry in a single-digit race."

MUST-READ:

Countdown to the start of early voting: 21 days. Last day to register to vote: Oct. 4.

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