Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Kelly Effect

The Texas Tribune polls on the Railroad Commission races caught my eye this week.  In Place 1, Christi Craddick was leading Warren Chisum 30% to 19%, and in Place 2 Greg Parker was leading Barry Smitherman 33% to 26%.
You could definitely see a preference for good ballot names and particularly female candidates in the polling.  In Place 1, Joe Cotton and Becky Berger were next at 14% and 13%, respectively.  And in Place 2, Elizabeth Murray-Kolb, who has raised a total of $500 for the race, was in third place with 25% of the vote.
In 2008, women represented 53% of the electorate.  Most political analysts give a female candidate a 2% to 3% edge, everything else being equal.  As I analyze the races and make final predictions for Tuesday, I am definitely weighing the female factor.
For example, in HD 137 (Hochberg retiring) where you have four well qualified candidates running, does it give Sarah Winkler, the only female, an inside edge to the runoff?
And then there is Kelly Hancock who is running for SD 9 against Todd Smith.  Internal polls show Hancock with a lead outside the margin of error.  But if the race tightens, Kelly, a male, will still have the advantage of a female name.  It may be the only time in his life he is glad his parents named him Kelly.