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Inside Intelligence: About Those Defiant GOP Voters...

For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about what a defiant mood in the GOP electorate might portend.

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For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about what a defiant mood among the Republican electorate might portend for 2016.

No clear consensus emerged from the insiders with 37 percent agreeing that the defiant mood, as exemplified by the strong support being shown outsider candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson, would spur a wave election next year. But 37 percent thought it's still too early to tell whether a large number of incumbents will be washed out in a wave.

Another 23 percent disagreed that a wave is coming in 2016.

We then asked where the support for Carson would end up maxing out in next year's Texas primary. Carson is already a well-known personality among the grassroots Republican voters, as witnessed by his second-place showing in the straw poll at last year's state party convention.

Nearly half of the insiders, however, thought he would prove unable to crack 20 percent support and another quarter thought he wouldn't surpass 10 percent.

A fifth of the insiders thought he could win as much as 30 percent of the vote.

We then shifted to a couple of questions about some newsmakers on the state political scene. After a news report over the weekend on the time spent this summer by Land Commissioner George P. Bush on his father's presidential campaign, we asked the insiders if they thought he was spending too much time on the trail.

A total of 44 percent said yes with 36 percent saying no.

And on the prospects of finding a long-term funding solution for the Texas Racing Commission, a majority of the insiders thought lawmakers would kick the can down the road instead of finding a long-term solution. Another 28 percent thought the agency would cave in its confrontation with Republican lawmakers who are upset about the decision to authorize a new form of gambling on historical races.

Only 7 percent thought the lawmakers would be the ones to throw in the towel while 12 percent thought the agency would end up being shuttered.

We collected comments along the way, and a full set of those is attached. Here’s a sampling:


An increasingly defiant mood among the GOP primary electorate leads to a wave election in 2016. Agree or disagree?

• "Democrats have nothing to worry about. However, there's a civil war brewing in the Republican Primary. Incumbents are warned; come out swinging like there is no tomorrow or you'll be joining the same lobbyverse you detest."

• "Defiant is such a great descriptor and replacement for 'angry.'"

• "It's difficult at this stage to tell the difference between saying you want to throw the bums out and actually following through once you enter the ballot box."

• "2016 will present a stronger anti-establishment sentiment in the GOP primary but, unlike 2010, this wave will not play out among a general electorate. The 2010 general election wave was in a non-presidential year and grew out of more broadly shared anti-establishment sentiment, whereas 2016 is demonstrating more partisan and racial overtones."

• "Republicans are where Democrats were when they nominated President Obama. They are rebelling against their party's expectations."


What’s the ceiling for Dr. Ben Carson in the Texas presidential primary?

• "Dr. Carson's luck runs out in Texas. This is Cruz Country."

• "I reject the premise that Carson makes it to Texas."

• "He is a good and honorable man. He believes strongly in America compared to the current WH occupant. But, once the base finds out he is weak on the Second Amendment, he will drop like a rock."

• "Depends on whether Trump is still flying high. Lot of competition from Cruz, who'll have an organization."

• "The first debate closing statement has taken Carson to No. 2, but as voters get a closer look, they'll see his lack of experience as a weakness. Foreign policy is too messed up to elect another novice."


Is George P. Bush spending too much time on the campaign trail stumping for his father?

• "No one in Texas cares what the Texas Land Commissioner does with his time. Hell, no one knows what the Commissioner actually does for the state. Mijito (little-son) is doing good by helping his dad. Voters don't like mal-hijos (mall - eee - hoes)."

• "Yes, but... It's not like the job is that difficult. Remember, Jerry Patterson was able to do it without disastrous consequences."

• "Probably, but ask this question again early next year, and my answer will be a definitive 'yes.' Ask again if his father gets the Republican nomination, and my answer will be 'can we withhold his paycheck?'"

• "He's coming across as in a big hurry, too ambitious, and thin-skinned to boot."

• "This is a resume filler stop on the way to Governor race, and I am OK with that."


Will lawmakers find a long-term solution to the Racing Commission funding conundrum before a three-month temporary reprieve expires?

• "Remember that time you had a temper tantrum and your mom gave you the eye? Similar situation... Senators Nelson and Huffman just gave them the eye. Oh, and dad is holding the belt."

• "Nothing I've seen from either side indicates a willingness to back down, even if just a little to make nice."

• "Of course not. This now gives folks an issue to campaign on and raise money. What a windfall for the pols and the fundraisers and our crowd."

• "Gov. Abbott needs to replace members in order to rein in the rogue agency. Eliminating a government agency would be a welcome miracle."

• "Next session the Lottery Commission or TDLR will have horse racing duties."

Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Brandon Aghamalian, Clyde Alexander, George Allen, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, Dave Beckwith, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Marc Campos, Snapper Carr, Janis Carter, Corbin Casteel, Elna Christopher, Randy Cubriel, Beth Cubriel, Denise Davis, June Deadrick, Nora Del Bosque, Glenn Deshields, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, Richard Dyer, Jack Erskine, John Esparza, Tom Forbes, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Daniel Gonzalez, John Greytok, Clint Hackney, Bill Hammond, Susan Hays, Ken Hodges, Steve Holzheauser, Deborah Ingersoll, Mark Jones, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Nick Lampson, Pete Laney, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Leslie Lemon, Ruben Longoria, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Steve Minick, Bee Moorhead, Mike Moses, Nelson Nease, Keats Norfleet, Todd Olsen, Nef Partida, Gardner Pate, Jerod Patterson, Robert Peeler, Bill Pewitt, Jerry Philips, Wayne Pierce, Allen Place, Gary Polland, Jay Propes, Ted Melina Raab, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Chuck Rice, Carl Richie, A.J. Rodriguez, Grant Ruckel, Jason Sabo, Jim Sartwelle, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Robert Scott, Bruce Scott, Ben Sebree, Christopher Shields, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Colin Strother, Sherry Sylvester, Sara Tays, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, Corbin Van Arsdale, Ware Wendell, David White, Christopher Williston, Seth Winick, Angelo Zottarelli.

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