For an indication of just how big a mountain Wendy Davis has to climb, polling results published Wednesday by the Associated Press show the Democratic hopeful for governor trails Republican Greg Abbott 51 percent to 37 percent. Abbott leads handily among male voters and has a 49 percent to 41 percent lead among women voters. Davis does have a sizeable lead among black and Hispanic voters.
The polling firm, Public Policy Polling, leans Democratic, the AP reports, meaning this isn’t some push poll from the GOP skunkworks. I realize this isn’t exactly going out on a limb, but that 51-37 lead will likely hold up – or grow – come the general election in November.
Davis burst on the scene last summer with her successful filibuster in Austin of legislation aimed at placing some legitimate restrictions on abortion clinics in Texas (the legislation eventually got through during a special session). Yet it just didn’t seem possible that could carry her to victory in Texas, a state still solidly GOP.
Frankly, Abbott isn’t an especially attractive candidate. He has little experience working the legislature, and he’s spent the past few years telling us why the state’s spending enough money on public education instead of providing details to solve some of the budget problems.
Davis’s 13-hour filibuster of a 20-week abortion ban certainly raised her national profile. It has no doubt helped her raise money from supporters of legal abortion outside Texas. However, there is little evidence that Sen. Davis’s extreme position on abortion has endeared her to Texas voters.
She’s obviously an intelligent woman, so she has to be able to see the writing on the wall. The numbers just aren’t there for her. Perhaps she knew that going in, and this race was a way to raise her own political profile. Or perhaps a tactic by Democrat operatives to gauge their progress in pushing the state leftward.
Either way, the governor’s mansion is Abbott’s to lose… because this is still Texas.