White, Perry lead UH poll
Former Mayor Bill White and Gov. Rick Perry are poised to carry UH in Tuesday’s gubernatorial primaries.
A poll conducted by The Daily Cougar last week revealed that 85.99 percent of UH students likely voting in the Democratic primary favor White to be his party’s nominee in the Nov. 2 general election. Meanwhile, 52.78 percent of likely Republican student voters support Perry.
White’s opponent, local businessman Farouk Shami, garnered the endorsement of 12.56 percent of UH Democrats, while 1.45 percent indicated they were undecided between the two.
Among Republicans, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison earned the support of 36.11 percent of those polled. Tea Party activist Debra Medina received the backing of 8.33 percent. About 2.8 percent of Republicans said they are undecided, but will likely vote in that primary.
Of the 471 students surveyed, 180 said they would vote in the Republican primary, while 207 said they would vote in the Democratic primary.
“(This) is different than the pattern seen in the broader Houston area, where Republican primary voters outnumber those voting in the Democratic primary by more than two to one,” assistant political science professor Elizabeth Rigby said. “Their preferences align with the broader distribution of support among Texas voters in general.”
Eighty-four students said they haven’t decided which primary they’ll vote in, reflecting the apathy surrounding many young voters during gubernatorial election season.
“My assumption is that most of these ‘undecided’ citizens won’t end up voting in a low-turnout election such as this primary,” Rigby said.
Rigby said the percentage of students who support Shami and Medina may speak to the rise in discontent expressed toward the government since the economy entered a downturn.
“In particular, Medina’s success at garnering support reflects the general anti-establishment sentiment among Americans today,” Rigby said. “Although anecdotal, I can tell you that I also see this frustration and cynicism increasing among my students.
“I hear a lot more concern about government-based solutions than were voiced a year ago. We call this a shift in national mood, and it is likely to play a key role in this election, possibly sending Perry and Hutchison into a runoff.”
The students cited multiple issues that they are most concerned with heading into Tuesday’s primary.
About 29.1 percent said the state of the economy and unemployment were their biggest concerns.
Roughly 18.68 percent chose public school education, 14.01 percent said health care, and 8.7 went with the state’s budget and taxes.
College tuition costs captured 5.52 percent of students’ concerns, while 4.88 percent said improving immigration policies should be Texas’ main issue.
Approximately 19.11 percent of respondents said there were other issues that concerned them. These included law enforcement, social reform, bipartisanship, social services, environment/clean energy and infrastructure.
About 52.4 percent of the students polled disapprove of Perry’s performance as governor, while 43.1 percent approve of his performance. Roughly 4.5 percent said they were neutral on Perry’s policies.
Furthermore, 42.39 percent of the poll’s undecided voters said they approve of Perry’s performance so far.
The overall poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. The Democratic primary poll has a margin of error of 6.8 points, and the Republican poll has a margin of error of 7.3 points.
Additional reporting provided by students in the Advanced Reporting course.