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The Brief: Oct. 23, 2014

GOP statewide candidates uniformly hold sizeable advantages over their Democratic rivals.

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The Big Conversation

There seems to be little standing in the way of another GOP sweep of statewide offices this November, with the party's candidates holding double-digit leads over their Democratic rivals, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

In the state's marquee race — the governor's contest — the GOP nominee, Greg Abbott, leads the Democrat, Wendy Davis, by a 54 percent to 38 percent margin among likely voters. Here are some other takeaways from the poll: Davis holds just a 2-point lead with Hispanic voters, a traditional anchor of support for Democratic candidates. And she loses women voters to Abbott by a 2-point margin.

Also, she also has problems being seen as likable. On whether voters have a favorable view of Davis, she is underwater with a 40/47 favorable to unfavorable split among likely voters. Abbott is seen favorably by 47 percent and unfavorably by 34 percent.

The other statewide Democrats trail their GOP counterparts by varying but significant margins. In the lieutenant governor race, the margin is 17 points. In the attorney general race, the margin is 20 points. And in the race for state comptroller, the margin is 15 points. The closest that a Democrat is running in a statewide contest is in the race for agriculture commissioner, where the "uncandidate" Jim Hogan trails by 12 points.

The UT/TT internet survey contacted 1,200 registered voters from Oct. 10 to Oct. 19 with an overall margin of error of 2.83 percent. For questions directed at likely voters, the margin of error is 3.33 percent.

The Day Ahead

•    The Senate Jurisprudence Committee meets at 10 a.m. in the Betty King Committee Room to address juvenile truancy and to look at extending the use of expunction of criminal records for low-level, non-violent criminals. (agenda)

•    The Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee meets at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Extension to study ways to make county government more efficient. (agenda)

•    The Texas Taxpayers and Research Association (TTARA) concludes its two-day annual meeting in Austin. Scheduled guest speakers, among others, include House Speaker Joe Straus, Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson and state comptroller candidate Glenn Hegar.

Trib Must-Reads

Eva Longoria: The TT Interview, by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn

Israel, VanDeWalle Head into Rematch in HD 50, by Christine Ayala

Davis: I'd Be "Thrilled" to Have Obama's Help, by Jay Root

State Fights Release of Race Records, by Jay Root

Elsewhere

Austin woman sues for same-sex federal benefits, Austin American-Statesman

Texas Lottery pulls controversial scratch-off card after hundreds complain, Houston Chronicle

Revenue drops 25 percent at Presbyterian Dallas, ER visits decline 50 percent after Ebola case, The Dallas Morning News

Campaigns engage in star wars, San Antonio Express-News

Texas early voting turnout is up, but who does it benefit?, Austin American-Statesman

Amid high turnout, Hidalgo County Dems rally for ticket, The Monitor

Texas athletic director: With new rules, Longhorns would pay each player $10,000, The Dallas Morning News

The GOP’s 2016 tech deficit, Politico

Paul Teller: Cruz’s agitator in chief, The Hill

Quote to Note

"How do you get someone to stay for longer than 45 seconds? That’s what’s transforming politics. Everything has to be pithy, everything has to be short, everything has to be succinct. That’s what I’m here to do."

GOP ad man Vincent Harris on the challenge of holding on to eyeballs given how little time the average user spends on a website on mobile devices

Today in TribTalk

Let an innocent man spend his last days at home, by Barry Scheck

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commission Candidates Steve Brown and Ryan Sitton, on Oct. 30 at The Austin Club in Austin

•    A One-Day Symposium on the Impact of the Shale Boom on Oct. 31 at the University of Texas San Antonio

•    A Live Post-Election TribCast, featuring Tribune editors and reporters on the election results, on Nov. 5 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick on Nov. 6 at The Austin Club

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