For this week's informal and unscientific poll of insiders, we followed up on President Barack Obama's announcement that he will seek re-election in 2012. It was no surprise, but now it's official. We asked whether Obama's numbers will be better than the 43.7 percent he received in Texas in 2008, and more than half think he'll do worse. About 30 percent think he'll do about the same, and only 18 percent think he'll do better now than then.
Democrats got a boost in Texas in 2008 even with Obama losing the election, and 41 percent of the insiders think they'll do even better in 2012. About a third think they'll do worse and 23 percent say it'll be about the same.
And what of the Republicans, the beneficiaries of a huge election success in 2010? Two thirds of the insiders think 2012 will be a worse year for the GOP; 10 percent think it'll be better, and 20 percent expect things will be about the same.
Do you think Barack Obama will do better or worse in the 2012 Texas election than in 2008, when he got 43.7 percent of the vote?
• "This is not Clinton '96. Clinton knew how to tack to the center. Obama is more of an ideologue. His percentage will go down as long as the Republican nominee isn't a cadaver."
• "The African American and Hispanic voters are less motivated."
• "Broken campaign promises (Gitmo, Afghanistan, etc) high energy costs, stubbornly high unemployment will be tough to overcome even for a gifted orator."
• "The one portion of the American electorate I expect Obama to do better with in 2012 is Hispanics. Fallout from the Clinton primary, and perhaps some racially based fear/mistrust had him underperform with Texas Hispanics, mostly due to depressed turnout. The immigration backlash against Republicans and more comfort with Obama among Hispanics should make for better performance, particularly as they rapidly increase in population and Anglos decline. Obama's prospects for improved performance would increase further if, as is now being discussed, his campaign makes a real effort to play here. Spending money to increase registration and turnout would help. He should be able to get at least 45% in Texas, and possibly as high as 47%, depending on the GOP nominee."
• "My sense is the sentiment of the Texas voter will be that this maybe the worst presidential hangover ever"
• "The emperor has no clothes."
• "I think the Gov. and Legislature are about to turn a lot of independents into Democrats by decimating the schools, health system, highways and infrastructure of the state. The voters last time said to economize the state -- not destroy it. Obama won't carry Texas, but I think his percentage will be higher this time than last."
• "The enthusiasm BO generated in Texas and elsewhere is long gone."
• "Depends considerably on who the Republican candidate is, but for now I'll assume the GOP selects a reasonable candidate (someone like Daniels, Pawlenty, or Christie and not like Romney, Gingrich, or Palin) and therefore that Obama will do worse."
Down-ballot Texas Democrats did relatively well in 2008 in spite of Obama's loss. How do you think they'll do in 2012?
• "Worse than 2008, but not marginally worse. Will do better than 2010."
• "Except for maybe Dallas where blue is the new green"
• "Weariness with lack of GOP leadership is spreading."
• "Republican gains in 2010 reflected the lower turnout of a midterm election. With Obama back on the ballot in 2012, Democratic turnout should improve."
• "While the number of Republicans in the Texas House will drop, it will be the result of the redistricting process, not the effect of Obama or the Texas Democratic Party in 2012."
• "The open United States Senate seat, the redistricting process – Texas gaining the 4 new congressional seats and the current anti-immigrant legislation, budget cuts that harm Latinos and working families will help the democratic in Texas during the 2012 general elections."
• "Obama continues to be highly popular with African Americans, but that is not entirely the case with Hispanics, who are disappointed in the administration's decision to put off strong immigration legislation in before the 2010 elections. Moreover, the zeal that existed in 2008 among younger voters generally is not the same at present; surely the campaign will work to restore that excitement, but that is very hard to achieve after four years."
Texas Republicans had a great election year in 2010; how will they do with a Democratic president seeking reelection on the 2012 ballot?
• "No difference statewide, but they will lose a dozen or so legislative seats, and not just because of redistricting"
• "Obama will be toxic in Texas everywhere but in South Texas and in the inner cities."
• "Worse not because of Obamanose but because post redistricting will not support the current number of House republicans."
• "After the 2010 election, there is nowhere for them to go but down. The number of legislative seats they currently hold is simply not sustainable, especially since reapportionment means fewer seats in heavily Republican rural Texas. Further, presidential elections produce much higher voting among minorities, which means Democrats do better than in gubernatorial years."
• "2010 Republicans way out-performed themselves in 2010. They will come a little back to earth in 2012."
• "The President is a drag on Democrats in Texas, but Democrats will do better in 2012 than in 2010. 2010 was a high water mark for Republicans."
• "Worse. They won't do near as well in Harris Co. as they did in 2010 (not that Dems will do as well as they did in 2008, necessarily). They'll still lose Dallas and Travis. Tarrant will/should/could stay purple. There's a chance for Dems to make gains in Fort Bend and Williamson. And Republicans will all-but-certainly see their House majority drop around the neighborhood of 12 seats."
Our thanks to this week's participants: Cathie Adams, Victor Alcorta, James Aldrete, George Allen, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Reggie Bashur, Walt Baum, Eric Bearse, Dave Beckwith, Mark Bell, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Steve Bresnen, Chris Britton, Andy Brown, Jose Camacho, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Snapper Carr, Rick Cofer, John Colyandro, Kevin Cooper, Hector DeLeon, David Dunn, Jeff Eller, Craig Enoch, Alan Erwin, Gay Erwin, John Esparza, Jon Fisher, Neftali Garcia, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Machree Gibson, Scott Gilmore, Daniel Gonzalez, Jim Grace, Thomas Graham, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Sandy Haverlah, Jim Henson, Ken Hodges, Steve Holzheauser, Shanna Igo, Deborah Ingersoll, Richie Jackson, Cal Jillson, Jason Johnson, Mark Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Ramey Ko, Sandy Kress, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, James LeBas, Donald Lee, Leslie Lemon, Richard Levy, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Bryan Mayes, Dan McClung, Robert Miller, Steve Murdock, Craig Murphy, Keir Murray, Richard Murray, Sylvia Nugent, Todd Olsen, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Jerry Philips, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Royce Poinsett, Kraege Polan, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Bill Ratliff, Karen Reagan, Tim Reeves, Kim Ross, Jeff Rotkoff, Jason Sabo, Luis Saenz, Mark Sanders, Stan Schlueter, Steve Scurlock, Kevin Shuvalov, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Glenn Smith, Terral Smith, Todd Smith, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Jason Stanford, Bill Stevens, Keith Strama, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Russ Tidwell, Bruce Todd, Trey Trainor, Ken Whalen, Darren Whitehurst, Chad Wilbanks, Michael Wilt, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.