Dan Patrick and his not-very-persuasive Texas Senate poll

You’ve probably seen the news that Dan Patrick released a poll purporting to show him being the frontrunner in the Senate race. Pretty much everyone I talk to scoffed at the numbers regardless of who they work for or whether they like Patrick. I sorta agree, although I probably take them a bit more at face value. That doesn’t mean I think they have any predictive power whatsoever. Quite the contrary.

Here’s Patrick’s numbers, which they basically released without any supporting information:

Dan Patrick 19%
Tom Leppert 11
Roger Williams 6
Elizabeth Ames Jones 4
Ted Cruz 2
Not sure/Refused 58

1. It’s a name ID poll against carefully selected opponents with less name ID. I would expect that Dan Patrick’s name ID is right about there, followed by Leppert’s. After years of a radio show and years as a big suburban state senate district, Patrick has good name ID in Houston, Leppert in Dallas.

2. A name ID ballot test is close to worthless when you exclude Lt Gov David Dewhurst…who has significantly more name ID over the better part of a decade and a few downballot primaries. If Patrick takes his poll and he shows up higher than Dewhurst, that might be news. We can be pretty sure that Dewhurst beat him however, or they would have released that.

3. Also, what’s Patrick’s fav/unfav? What’s his name ID? For example, if Patrick has ~30% name ID compared to < 10% for every other candidate in that poll (possible), then that means only 2 out of 3 pick him even if they probably haven't heard of the other candidates. Not great for him. Dan Patrick accompanied the release with, "This poll confirms that I would be the conservative front runner if I announce for the United States Senate." Well...not really. He's proved that he may have more name ID (highly concentrated in Houston) than others, but most of the folks who might have supported him have already lined up behind other candidates. So if Patrick enters the race, he's probably decreasing the chances of someone winning (whether him or another candidate) that he considers conservative. So I'd be surprised if the release of this poll has the effect that his camp hopes. He's floating the trial balloon and seeing how people respond. But my guess is that more people will tell him that they don't think he should run. And that includes, I believe, all the members of Texas Iconoclast. (As you probably already know, I support Ted Cruz.)

Texas Senate Republican candidates fundraising – Leppert wins, Cruz second, all others trail significantly

Raised Q1 Spent Cash On Hand
Tom Leppert $1,090,081* $97,861 $2,592,219
Ted Cruz $942,885** $47,820 $965,153
Roger Williams $593,470*** $162,092 $1,250,300
Michael Williams $414,119 $54,506 $369,369
Elizabeth Ames Jones $122,185 $304,371 $128,541

* Does not include $1.6M in Leppert self-funding
** Does not include $70k from Ted Cruz
*** Does not include $5k from Roger Williams
An unknown Democrat also raised $7k.

Leppert and Cruz obviously raised significantly more than the rest of the pack. Ted Cruz surpassed expectations with about a million raised and Roger Williams underwhelmed. Leppert’s victory was hardly surprising but ensures he’ll be in the fight, whereas others might have to drop out.

The biggest surprise is Elizabeth Ames Jones. She raised just $122k and spent over $300k. That’s obviously not sustainable. If she can’t raise more money, she’ll have to drop out.

It’s still early, obviously. Who can get traction in the next few months?