Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Is Wendy Davis fairest of them all in Texas?

State Sen. Wendy Davis, flanked by fellow Democratic senators outside the Texas Capitol on July 1, 2013 (Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner).
State Sen. Wendy Davis, flanked by fellow Democratic senators outside the Texas Capitol on July 1, 2013 (Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner).

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis "has a rare opportunity to start her first statewide campaign as the most popular politician in Texas," Democratic political consultant Jason Stanford wrote in a Sept. 16 opinion column.

That day’s "Two Views" feature in the Austin American-Statesman’s opinion section featured Stanford and Republican counterpart Matt Mackowiak weighing in on Davis’ chances if she runs for governor. The Fort Worth Democrat gained global fame for her 11-hour filibuster June 25, 2013, that helped briefly derail GOP-sponsored restrictions on abortions.

Mackowiak opined that Texas won’t be blue enough in 2014 to elect a Democrat. But how red can the state be if Davis is tops in popularity, as Stanford asserted?

By phone, Stanford told us he was relying on his memory of Davis’ favorability rating in poll results released July 2, 2013, by Public Policy Polling.

The Democratic-leaning North Carolina firm said in a press release that in its survey conducted June 28-July 1, 2013 -- days after the filibuster -- Davis was "now the best-liked figure the firm tested statewide, and the third-best-known after (Gov.) Rick Perry and (U.S. Sen.) Ted Cruz," both Republican.

"But her standing in a hypothetical matchup with Perry has slipped in the last five months, mainly due to Perry’s own improvement," the release said, and survey data suggested that Davis also would have lost in a one-on-one gubernatorial face-off with Attorney General Greg Abbott, then a likely GOP candidate. Abbott announced his bid for governor after Perry said July 8 that he would not run again. Davis isn’t officially in the race; she has said she’ll announce "what’s next" for her Oct. 3.

We found that the poll’s contradictions and the lack of other firm indicators leaves this claim Mostly False.

Read our full review to the right, accompanied by related fact checks.