The race for Governor of Texas appears to be all but over, with Republican Greg Abbott opening up a commanding 17 percentage point lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in a new CBS News/New York Times poll, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
The poll shows Abbott with 54% support, and Davis with just 37%. Despite Davis' huge fundraising prowess and the repeated claims by Democrats and Democratic groups that Davis is the person who will 'turn Texas blue,' Abbott is leading by a far larger margin than Rick Perry's lead over Democrat Bill White at this same point in the 2010 governor's race.
That is opening an even wider lead than the latest poll which came out about a month ago, which showed Abbott leading by about 14%.
Political analyst Cal Jillson at SMU isn't surprised by the poll.
"It is steep uphill for her to run for the governorship in Texas as a Democrat," he said.
Analysts agree that even the perfect candidate running the perfect race would have had trouble running as a Democrat in Texas this year. Opposition to President Obama and his policies run high in the state, and the Democratic Party has become an increasingly toxic brand.
Davis hasn't done herself any favors, running what most observers agree has been an abysmal campaign. Her strategy appears to be simply a series of attempt to run up Abbott's 'negatives,' pulling out charge after charge against the Republican Attorney General in hopes that one sticks. So far, none has.
But the Democratic Party's handling of the current immigration situation has been nothing short of mystifying, including one bizarre ad by Lieutenant Governor candidate Leticia Van de Putte in which she called for compassion for the immigrants and called people who disagree with her hateful.
"Shame on those who would use this tragedy to instill fear, intolerance and hate for all immigrants," Van de Putte said on the now pulled commercial.
That is a position which is wildly in opposition to polls showing not just Republicans but Democrats and Hispanics believe that the best solution to the current problem is to repatriate the illegal immigrants.
Jillson says Abbott, on the other hands, has looked statesmanlike by comparison.
"He has been shaking his fist at the federal government, sounding like a politician, increasingly."
Abbott's campaign has largely been quiet, as he avoids the possibility of making a Clayton Williams like campaign gaffe that could give Davis momentum.
Jillson says the most damming statistic for Davis in the campaign is the fact that there are only 9% of the voters still undecided. He says when you lead by a larger margin than the number of undecided votes, that is very daunting for the trailing candidate. It's a lot easier to convince an undecided voter to support you than it is to convince somebody who backs the other candidate to switch.