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Inside Intelligence: From the Presidency to Vouchers...

For this week's nonscientific survey of government and political insiders, we asked about the presidential race, how it plays in the next race for governor, the lieutenant governor's electoral status, and whether odds for school vouchers have improved.

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This week, with the Republicans in convention and the Democrats on the way, we asked the insiders the question of the season: Who’ll be the next president? Sixty percent think it will be Barack Obama, 35 percent predict Mitt Romney and the rest were undecided.

If Romney wins, 41 percent said Gov. Rick Perry would be more likely to seek reelection in 2014, but 47 percent think he would be less likely.

While at the GOP convention, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told delegates he’s going to seek another term in 2014. Would he be the favorite to win? According to most of the insiders — 55 percent — the answer is no.

Dewhurst also said he will join the push for school vouchers this session. The governor is on board and named an education commissioner — Michael Williams — who favors a voucher program. Does all that talk increase the chances for vouchers in Texas? Most of the insiders — 62 percent — say it does.

All of their verbatim comments to the questions are attached. Here’s a sampling:


Who will win the presidency in November?

• "It is too early to call the election, anything can happen between and November.  With the Conventions, then the debates as well as the economic forecast anything is possible. What is clear is that the GOP white voters according to a recent Pew Survey has grown by almost 8%, this clearly gives Romney the advantage."

• "Depends on the debates, but the economic trend line will sink Obama"

• "This week's hoopla aside, Obama still leads in most of the battleground states -- and the Dem's haven't yet begun to fight."

• "When it's all said and done - it always boils down to who the majority of voters on election day believe is the most charismatic.  This pains me greatly this election."

• "It's the economy stupid."

• "The tide is turning. Obama is under 50% in all polls. Sour economy. No effort to paint a vision for the future. All negative. No reach to the middle. All of these are signs of a losing position. It may not be even close before it's over."

• "Polls have been very steady for months, suggesting a narrow Obama victory in the popular vote and a significantly broader victory in the Electoral College."

• "We are doing everything possible to get Romney elected . . . so I'm saying and hoping he'll win.  Am a bit disturbed over the rules drama unfolding at the convention.  Not the best time to upset the apple cart.  R's need to get it together or they will blow this golden opportunity."

• "The president won't lose by Jimmy Carter proportions, but the result will be the same. There just isn't enough 'there' there to motivate the swing voters who swept him into office four years ago.  Aloha, Barry!"


If Mitt Romney wins in November, is Rick Perry more or less likely to seek reelection in 2014?

• "It would push his chance to run for president to 2020, at which point his slogan will be 'one tough grandpa!'"

• "I don't think the two are really related.  Barring a significant development, Perry is unlikely to get a second chance to run for President, even if Obama wins.  There are just too many qualified candidates in front of him."

• "He is going to run for re-election no matter what."

• "The perceived path to the White House for Perry gets four years longer. He won't want to wait that long and voters may finally seek a change in the Governor's Mansion."

• "Doesn't matter what happens to Mitt.  Rick is done going forward even if he does run."

• "It is difficult to take seriously the idea that Perry will run for the presidency again -- so I have decided not to."

• "The Guv is done and it has everything to do with this year's primary. Who would've thought the Guv would become a moderate/establishment figure."

• "Absent Obama, Perry has no natural message foil to push against."


Now that David Dewhurst says he will seek reelection, would you say he is the favorite to win the race for lieutenant governor?

• "Wasn’t he favored for U.S. Senate?"

• "Any grassroots conservative could take him out -- Patterson, Patrick, someone we haven't thought of yet --"

• "Why are we acting surprised that he said he would run for reelection? As if the Dew were going to grant himself lame(r) duck status right before session? C'mon. His claim that he'll run is meaningless for now."

• "No but he should be.  He deserves another term if he wants it."

• "He has just shown he is easily beatable in a primary. What is going to make him a stronger candidate in two years?"

• "Hard to beat an incumbent...even when the playbook to defeat him has been written."

• "Dead. Man. Walking."

• "It would be spin (or worse) to call Dewhurst the favorite.  As Patterson is definitely in, there will be a contested primary and that may entice others to join the fight.  To accurately handicap the race we need a fact that is not available yet: how many candidates will be on the Republican ballot for Lt Gov in March 2014 (and who are they)?"

• "Unless Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has a substantially more conservative agenda that actually passes and becomes law in 2013 he is susceptible to attack from the right.  Just passing conservative legislation out of the Senate does not seem to placate the Republican Party faithful.  Quite simply, Ted Cruz has given Greg Abbott the roadmap for how to beat Dewhurst."

• "What have we just learned - money really doesn't matter - nor does being conservative - it's all perception baby!"

• "Yes, but not a prohibitive favorite. He's not scaring anyone out of that race now."


Do recent appointments and comments from state leaders improve the legislative chances for school vouchers next session?

• "Even with a big push from above, the people will have to decide whether they will let any regulatory strings be attached to private schools."

• "Hopefully.  It is time.  Democrats should stop protecting lousy schools and fighting this issue as if it were a crime against humanity.  Give parents a vouchers option -- can't be worse that what the public schools are already doing."

• "'Remember the Ardmore,' will be new Texas battle cry."

• "House repubs are scarred to death of political ramifications. Bet pub Ed chair will find a way to stand up to Dan Patrick and let it die a slow death in committee"

• "If passed you will see another sea change of house membership as voters respond to attack on public schools."

• "They don't 'improve' the chances but they reflect where the leadership stands."

• "Recent appointments and comments do not improve the chances for school vouchers. The new make-up of the legislature - in the House and Senate...THAT'S what improves the chances."

• "Democrats + rural Republicans who listen to their constituents + moderate Republicans = No Vouchers"

• "Even without Patrick running Senate Ed (and he might be even more effective on vouchers if he's not chairing), the fear of the right from Dew and others will move this along, and huge freshman/sophomore classes in House will be happy to oblige."

• "Vouchers still don't help the rural members."

Our thanks to this week’s participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Jenny Aghamalian, Victor Alcorta, Clyde Alexander, David Anthony, Jay Arnold, Tom Banning, Mike Barnett, Walt Baum, Rebecca Bernhardt, Andrew Biar, Tom Blanton, Hugh Brady, Steve Bresnen, Chris Britton, Raif Calvert, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Marc Campos, Thure Cannon, Snapper Carr, Tris Castaneda, Corbin Casteel, William Chapman, Elizabeth Christian, Elna Christopher, Rick Cofer, Lawrence Collins, John Colyandro, Kevin Cooper, Beth Cubriel, Randy Cubriel, Denise Davis, Hector De Leon, June Deadrick, Tom Duffy, Scott Dunaway, Richard Dyer, Jeff Eller, Jack Erskine, John Esparza, Jon Fisher, Rebecca Flores, Robert Floyd, Wil Galloway, Norman Garza, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, John Greytok, Michael Grimes, Jack Gullahorn, Anthony Haley, Bill Hammond, John Heasley, Jim Henson, Ken Hodges, Laura Huffman, Kathy Hutto, Shanna Igo, Deborah Ingersoll, Cal Jillson, Jason Johnson, Bill Jones, Mark Jones, Robert Jones, Lisa Kaufman, Russ Keane, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Ramey Ko, Sandy Kress, Dale Laine, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Donald Lee, Luke Legate, Myra Leo, Richard Levy, Elizabeth Lippincott, Ruben Longoria, Homero Lucero, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Bryan Mayes, Parker McCollough, Debra Medina, Robert Miller, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Craig Murphy, Keir Murray, Keats Norfleet, Pat Nugent, Sylvia Nugent, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Bill Pewitt, Jerry Philips, Tom Phillips, Wayne Pierce, Richard Pineda, Allen Place, Royce Poinsett, Kraege Polan, Jay Pritchard, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Bill Ratliff, Karen Reagan, Tim Reeves, Kim Ross, Jeff Rotkoff, Jason Sabo, Mark Sanders, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Stan Schlueter, Bruce Scott, Robert Scott, Steve Scurlock, Bradford Shields, Christopher Shields, Julie Shields, Dee Simpson, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Jason Stanford, Bill Stevens, Bob Strauser, Colin Strother, Charles Stuart, Michael Quinn Sullivan, Sherry Sylvester, Jay Thompson, Russ Tidwell, Gerard Torres, Trent Townsend, Trey Trainor, Ware Wendell, Ken Whalen, Darren Whitehurst, Christopher Williston, Seth Winick, Alex Winslow, Lee Woods, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.

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