The Big Conversation:
Republicans at the top of the ticket in Texas will cruise to double-digit victories next week, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
To no surprise, the poll shows Mitt Romney with a comfortable lead over President Barack Obama, 55 to 39 percent, among likely voters. In the U.S. Senate race, Republican Ted Cruz holds a nearly identical lead over Democrat Paul Sadler, 54 percent to 39 percent.
In the other statewide race that was polled, Republican Christi Craddick leads Democrat Dale Henry 50-36 in the race for railroad commissioner.
“At the top of the ticket, in the big marquee races, there are no surprises," said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at UT and co-director of the poll. “We see the basic structure of the state, in terms of partisanship, pretty stable.”
In the presidential race, 52 percent of Texans view Romney favorably, compared with 41 percent who view him unfavorably. Obama's ratings were 39 percent favorable, 57 percent unfavorable. The candidates' running mates scored similar numbers.
In the U.S. Senate race, Cruz is viewed favorably by 49 percent and unfavorably by 29 percent. Sadler scored net-positive favorability ratings — 23-14 — but more than 60 percent said they had a neutral opinion of him or didn't know.
As for Gov. Rick Perry, who may run for governor again in 2014, 45 percent view him favorably, compared with 42 percent unfavorably. Only 22 percent, however, said they'd vote for him again, while 35 say they'd wait and see, and 42 percent said they'd vote against him.
Check out the full results Texans' thoughts on Congress, Greg Abbott and the 2014 lieutenant governor's race.
- Texans are still turning out in record numbers to vote early in many counties across the state. Last week's turnout appeared to have outpaced that of 2008 by about half a percentage point, and the trend could hold: Harris County, for instance, recorded its highest day of turnout yet on Saturday. Oddly, turnout in Travis County is down 33 percent from 2008 levels, but officials attribute the drop to a long, proposition-heavy ballot that may be causing some voters to wait. Early voting ends Friday.
- The simmering fight between Attorney General Greg Abbott and a group of international election observers cooled off Friday. After a few days of escalating drama over Abbott's objection to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's decision to send election monitors to Texas, the head of the group, Daan Everts, said any implication that the group wouldn't obey state laws was the result of a misunderstanding, and that its observers don't need to be inside polling places to observe the election, according to The Associated Press. Abbott "should be better informed," Everts said.
- Gov. Rick Perry discussed faith and talked up Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in Iowa on Saturday. As the keynote speaker at a benefit held by a conservative group called the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Perry spoke of a "war being waged against people of faith" and called the national debt a moral issue. "Debt at our current level is not just an economic disaster, it is a moral catastrophe. Our debt enslaves us to China," he said, according to the Des Moines Register. Perry also praised Romney and Ryan for having mobilized conservatives since the first presidential debate in Denver. "There’s just a palpable excitement about this campaign that I think has really built up over the last 30 days," he said.
"As women, let's take 'Clear Eyes, Full Hearts' back and use it as it was always intended — as a motivator for progress, power, and greatness." — Friday Night Lights actress Connie Britton in a column on the Romney campaign's use of the show's motto
- Sen. Carona reportedly backtracks on LGBT support, but we’ve got the audio, Dallas Voice
- High court weighs new look at voting rights law, AP
- 'Motor voters' missing on rolls, Houston Chronicle
- Austin struggling to recruit, retain black professionals, Austin American-Statesman
- As New Public Ed Chair, Patrick Focuses on Expanding School Choice, The Texas Tribune
Early voting runs through Nov. 2. Use the secretary of state's website to find a polling place!