A new independent poll shows Republican Bill Flores up 12 points over U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco. The Hill, a newspaper that covers the Capitol, surveyed likely voters in the Central Texas district by phone between Oct. 19 and 21.
The crosstabs reveal (download them to the right) that both candidates' support breaks down strictly along party lines. Edwards attracts 9 percent of Republican voters, while Flores attracts only 3 percent of Democrats. Another detail: The incumbent is more popular among women and the young, but Flores takes the lead among the 35-to-54 and 55-plus age groups.
Fifty-six percent of voters surveyed have a favorable view of Flores, well above his unfavorability rating of 31 percent. The numbers aren't as good for Edwards: 45 percent of voters have a favorable view of the incumbent, compared to the 49 percent who view him unfavorably. Sixty-six percent of the voters polled disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing; 78 percent disapprove of the job Congress is doing.
Flores campaign manager Matt Mackowiak said in an e-mail that the poll confirmed what they've already seen in the district, adding that "regardless of what any poll says, Bill Flores is continuing to work like we are twenty points behind to ensure we finish strong on Election Day."
Edwards spokeswoman Megan Jacobs said their internal numbers showed the race to be "very close." In an e-mail, she pointed out that the poll was taken "before seniors and voters started learning that, despite his denials to the contrary, Mr. Flores has proposed privatizing Social Security and raising the retirement age to 70." She's referring, in part, to Flores' stumble two weeks ago, when he indicated that he would support raising the retirement age, and then later retracted it.