May 24, 2002

Gov. Perry Holds Strong Lead In Statewide Poll; After Spending $20M In Primary, Sanchez Not Running As Well As Many Democrats Expected

AUSTIN, Texas — Incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry holds a 25-point lead over Democratic challenger Tony Sanchez, according to a recent statewide survey.

This Texas Politics survey is the fourth in a year-long series of surveys addressing the 2002 Texas elections and launched by Montgomery and Associates, an independent research firm based in Austin, Texas. This survey was conducted from May 7-13 and tested 1,066 Texas residents who had voted in at least one of the last two general elections. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent. Montgomery & Associates is conducting the survey independently, and has not been paid by any candidate or party.

In a trial heat between Perry and Sanchez, Perry took 59.4 percent of the statewide vote, compared to 34.3 percent for Sanchez. Only 4.7 percent were undecided, and 1.5 percent refused.

Perry leads in every geographic region, although the race is extremely tight in the South Texas/Border region, where Perry holds a three-point lead — exactly the margin of error.

There is a strong split along ethnic lines in this race, with Sanchez holding a strong lead among Hispanics (57.9 percent, compared to 37.3 percent for Perry) and blacks (a 43-point margin over Perry), while Anglos go to Perry by 72.6 percent to 21.4 percent, more than 50 points.

Jeff Montgomery, president of Montgomery & Associates, noted that “Sanchez is not running as well as many Democrats expected, especially after spending $20 million in the Democratic primary. Meanwhile, Gov. Perry is also running much stronger than expected, across almost all regions and ages and across gender.”

When asked whether their impression of each candidate was generally favorable, generally unfavorable, or neutral, 65.5 percent of these likely voters said they had a favorable impression of Gov. Perry and 16 percent had an unfavorable impression (an excellent favorable-unfavorable ratio). Hispanics (51.3 percent favorable, 20.9 percent unfavorable) also had a good opinion of the governor. In sharp contrast, only 38.5 percent of voters had a favorable impression of San-chez, while 23.1 percent had an unfavorable impression (a poor favorable/unfavorable ratio).

Sanchez’s impression numbers reflect the same sharp division along ethnic lines that the trial heat did. He did well among Hispanics (60 percent favorable) and blacks (59.3 percent favorable) but very badly among Anglos (27.8 percent favorable).

“With the Tony Sanchez campaign going up on TV five months out of the election, it looks like they may have seen the same polling numbers we have,” Montgomery said.

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