From the BOR: Additional Sources
From the BOR: Additional Sources
Dallas Morning News Editorial: We Recommend White for Governor: Rick Perry's campaign suggests that his cowboy swagger and his disdain for Washington, D.C. should be enough to convince voters that he's the leader Texas needs.
The state's longest-serving governor is so certain his tenure should be extended that Perry has glided through this re-election bid with an impervious air, shrugging off tough questions and offering few specifics. Trust me, Perry tells voters, I know what I'm doing.
But in fact, Perry, 60, has done relatively little during a decade at the helm of state government. He can lay claim to few signature achievements. He lacks allies in the Legislature, and whether the issue is school finance, transportation or juvenile justice, he has not managed to see needed reforms through to conclusion.
The Republican governor is counting on the state's relatively strong economy to secure his third full term in office. But Texas' business-friendly environment predates Perry and will extend beyond his time in office. And now, with a deficit of up to $21 billion looming, more than budget bravado and a "taxes bad" mantra will be required to keep Texas on solid financial footing.
The state needs a solutions-oriented leader who is focused on bolstering Texas – not on doing battle with Washington.
Record of pragmatism
Democrat Bill White is better-suited to steer this ship of state through the challenges ahead.
The former mayor of Houston is a fiscal conservative with a progressive bent. He's more pragmatic than partisan. He's proven himself competent in business and in public office. Indeed, he's a bit of a throwback – in the best Texas tradition of the businessman governor.
We don't make this recommendation lightly. This newspaper has a long history of recommending Rick Perry for office against Democrats from agriculture commissioner to the governor's office. But Texas requires a different kind of leadership at this important juncture.
Bill White is an entrepreneur and an energy expert who succeeded in the private sector before branching out into public service. White, 56, has no use for Perry's swashbuckling, coyote-shooting style. The Democratic candidate is meticulous and analytical, hesitant to overpromise but determined to solve Texas' most pressing problems.
As Houston's mayor, White proved himself to be adept at balancing budgets, managing to cut property tax rates repeatedly. He drew national acclaim for his leadership in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
And White laid waste to the idea that environmentally friendly policies inevitably were bad for business – a myth that Perry perpetuates as he fights to maintain Texas' right to pollute with impunity. In Houston, White struck a careful balance, proving that a city could go green and still be open for business.
As governor, White would be well-positioned to deliver in areas where Perry has fallen short.
For example, Texas' transportation infrastructure needs are daunting and urgent. Yet Perry seems to be stumped when it comes to offering workable funding options for building roads. The governor's go-to move is to blame Washington – and he does, for not sending more money. That's a fine lament, but it won't pay for any new lane miles.
White recognizes the need for new revenue sources and supports allowing counties to call elections to raise funds for transportation projects. This local-option approach has the support of North Texas transportation leaders but would stand a better chance in the Legislature with the backing of the governor.
The blurring of lines
During Perry's decades in elected office and two-plus terms as governor, ethical lines have slowly blurred as more and more high-dollar campaign donors have received appointments or state funds. Perry surrounds himself with a sea of people echoing his views. And he wields his power forcefully, making clear that those who dare to disagree with him can be replaced. When a Texas Tech regent endorsed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the GOP gubernatorial primary, he said he was pressured to resign by a Perry emissary delivering a definitive message: The governor expects loyalty.
Even more troubling is the governor's apparent loyalty to campaign donors. Perry has played a pivotal role in awarding millions of taxpayer dollars from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to companies with investors or officers who also happen to be the governor's campaign donors – an uncomfortable and unacceptable arrangement that cries out for an overhaul.
Fortunately, White has outlined a number of ethics reforms that would change the way the governor's office operates. His common-sense proposals include limiting contributions from appointees, extending the waiting period before governor's staff members can work as lobbyists and requiring gubernatorial staffers to file personal financial statements.
While White is better-equipped to navigate the state's budget woes and handle a number of other difficult tasks, his ideas about education have disappointed thus far. He has complained about the emphasis on high-stakes testing but failed to offer a specific alternative that would hold schools accountable. White's views may yet evolve in the realm of education, and this one point of disagreement does not outweigh the Democrat's many other good ideas.
Perry's strident, tea party tone and strong-arm style won't serve Texas well for another four years. While White's focus has been on finding solutions in Austin, Perry has done little more than rail against Washington's problems. The governor's gaze seems to have drifted from the tasks at hand, as he openly discusses his aspirations of elevating his national profile.
White is right when he says that leadership has little to do with delivering a speech and much more to do with having a sense of mission. White is a man with a mission, a leader who will bring a purposeful determination to the governor's office.
Libertarian Kathie Glass, 57, a lawyer, and Green Party candidate Deb Shafto, 71, a retired teacher and business owner, also are on the ballot. But White's broad base of expertise and modern managerial style make him the best choice for governor and earn him our recommendation.
by Ted McLaughlin
We have known for several months now that there will be a deficit in the next biennium for the state of Texas. I say biennium because the Texas legislature only meets once every two years, so they do budgets for two years instead of one. For quite a while now, Texas government has operated with a surplus -- so much so that they have been able to put a little over $8 billion into a "rainy day" fund. But those good economic times are over and its starting to rain -- really hard.
A few months ago it was believed that Texas would have an $8-$10 billion dollar deficit in the next biennium. It didn't take long for that estimate to rise to between $12 and $15 billion dollars. Now the politicians are telling us that the deficit will probably be up above $21.5 billion dollars.
The state's Republican leadership has ordered state agencies to cut their budgets by 5%-10% several times, and those agencies are currently under a new order to cut their budgets one more time. One politician has even said the legislature will have to take a "meat cleaver" approach to the budget next year. Both parties are trying to fool the voters into thinking this huge deficit problem can be solved by simply cutting state services. Unfortunately, that is a lie.
Most state agencies are already operating on a bare bones budget. If much more is cut from their budgets they will not be able to deliver the services to the people that they are mandated to give. And what good is an agency that is incapable of delivering services? The answer to that is no good at all.
In addition, there are some agencies for which if more is cut serious problems will arise. Two of these that instantly come to mind are the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). There is a point beyond which these agencies cannot cut more and still deliver a level of service that protects both the public and state inmates. It would be unacceptable to all of us if the agencies can no longer protect the public, and if the inmates can't be protected from abuse then we are looking at court cases that could cost the state far more than proper budgets for the agencies would cost.
Do we want the state to stop funding the repair and renovation of our roads and bridges? Do we want the state to stop covering children with health insurance, or providing services for mental health and mental retardation? Do we want the state to adequately fund our schools? Do we want enough highway patrolmen and Texas Rangers on the job to protect the public from criminals not in TYC or TDCJ? Do we want the oil & gas industry, the chemical industry, and energy providers to be policed to make sure they are not poisoning our air and water?
As you can see, most (if not all) state agencies provide vital services that the state simply cannot do without. And only a moron could believe a deficit of over $21.5 billion could be eliminated by cutting the money these agencies get. Since the state constitution mandates that the state must balance its budget in each biennium, something else must be done.
Like it or not, taxes are going to have to be raised somehow. And it doesn't matter whether the Republicans or the Democrats win in November, there will be more tax revenue raised. There is simply no other option.
Even though you won't hear it from the politicians new tax revenues and income sources are already being considered. Texas already has one of the highest sales taxes in the nation (Texas loves regressive taxes that hit the poor harder than the rich), but there are many things that have been exempted from that sales tax. That is probably going to end for many of those things.
State leaders will probably not raise the sales tax rate, but they will almost certainly increase the number of things that will be covered by the tax. They'll do it that way so they can say they didn't raise the tax (even though paying a tax on new things is definitely a rise in taxation).
There is also talk of allowing casino gambling which could be heavily taxed, and a new state property tax which would be dedicated to education. About the only new tax that won't be considered is a state income tax (because that would affect the rich, and we can't have that).
So don't be fooled. There are going to be more taxes. It's just a question of what kind and how much.
Houston Chronicle: The Back to Basics political committee is hitting Gov. Rick Perry again in a new television commercial. Spokesman Cliff Walker would not say where the ad is running, but said it is a "six-figure" television buy.
Bill White spokeswoman Katy Bacon said Perry's campaign is wrong about the television buys. Bacon said White is on the air in all the markets mentioned in Miner's release. "They're making things up again," Bacon said.
Titled "Rick Perry Thinks You're a Sucker," the ad juxtaposes Perry encouraging viewers to send a letter to Washington saying what they think about "all this stimulus, all this runaway spending" with a letter Perry sent President Barack Obama in February 2009 saying Texas would welcome Federal stimulus funds. Perry's Feb. 18, 2009 letter, posted on the governor's state website, certified that Texas would accept federal funds.
The Houston Chronicle Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News has previously published news articles stating Perry accepted more than $12 billion in stimulus money to balance the state budget.
Perry has not welcomed all federal funds. Last year, Perry opposed about $550 million to fund the state's unemployment trust benefits. The governor said businesses would have had to pay higher unemployment taxes after the federal dollars ran out. An effort by some legislators to overrule Perry died in the state House. And this year, Perry did not to apply for federal education funding in the competitive federal grant program known as Race to the Top.
From the Dallas Morning News, "Gov. Rick Perry approved $4.5 million for donor's start-up firm without regional board's OK":
Gov. Rick Perry approved a $4.5 million award from the state's technology fund to a company founded by a major campaign donor despite the company's failure to win the endorsement of a regional screening board, The Dallas Morning News has learned. Bill White has released this statement:
The money was awarded in August to Convergen Lifesciences Inc., founded by Perry contributor David G. Nance. Convergen was allowed to bypass a key part of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund's extensive process for vetting applications, and to proceed for approval to a statewide advisory board appointed by Perry.
A spokeswoman for Perry said Tuesday that the money was properly awarded to Convergen because the law establishing the tech fund allows applicants to appeal decisions by regional reviewers.
However, the law makes no mention of such appeals.
The chairman of the regional board in Houston, one of the state's largest, told The News he had never heard of an appeals process. Walter Ulrich, also a former member of the tech fund's statewide advisory committee, said approval by regional boards is mandatory.
"It cannot go to the state without our board's approval," he said. "I've never seen that happen."
Walt Trybula, a nanotechnology expert at Texas State University who reviews tech fund applications for the Austin regional board, said the ability to appeal would undermine the process.
"If you've got a way to go around a review committee," he said, "why do you have a review committee?"
And the chairman of the state House committee that oversees the tech fund said the "extraordinary" process that awarded the money to Nance's firm shows that reforms are needed. "This is the most troubling case that I've seen come through" on the fund, said Rep.
"Rick Perry uses the governor's office to benefit his friends, his contributors and himself. The only way to end Perry's abuses is to elect a new governor. In the meantime the appropriate authorities need to investigate the corruption in the governor's office right away," said Bill White.White's campaign released the following video supplement to the press release:
"I demanded last week that Perry disclose all personal and state financial ties with Mr. Nance and Perry refused. Now we see why. This is a bombshell," said White
Sometimes it is hard to figure out just what the American people really want?
Not very important...............4%
Not very important...............5%
Not very important...............9%
Not very important...............17%
Not very important...............36%
FEDERAL AID TO SCHOOLS
Not very important...............9%
Not very important...............9%
Not very important...............10%
Unfortunately, a new Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University poll contains some puzzling information and may well create as many questions as it answers. The poll surveyed 2,054 adults between September 22nd and October 3rd, and has a margin of error of 2.5%.
I don't think there's any doubt that if asked whether they support a smaller federal government, a clear majority of Americans would probably say yes. And a couple of the polls answers would tend to support that.
About 55% of respondents think the federal government is focused on the wrong things and another 52% believe the governments impact on their daily lives is mainly a negative one, while only 7% believe they get more value from the government than they pay in taxes (and 55% say they get less value).Those beliefs would make someone think the majority of Americans would be in favor of drastic cuts to the federal government.
However, when they are asked about individual government programs, the poll responses shows that Americans think those programs are important and don't want to see cuts in them. Consider the response results in the table right:Those are all the programs that cost the government the most money. It would be impossible to think of cutting the size of the federal government without also drastically cutting most or all of these programs, and yet a clear majority in each case doesn't think these programs should be cut.
It's no wonder that the Republicans, while preaching cutting government, can't name a single thing they would cut. It's one thing to talk about cutting government in general, but quite another when it comes to cutting specific (and popular) programs. Americans may say they want a smaller government, but they only want it in theory -- not reality.
In fact, reality may not enter into people's view of the federal government very much. About 50% of the people said they believed that the federal government budget could be balanced just by eliminating wasteful spending.
But where is that wasteful spending? And could there possibly be trillions of dollars in wasteful spending? Frankly, it is amazing that half of the population could believe that.
While there is undoubtedly some wasteful spending, it is extremely unrealistic to believe it could even come near the federal deficit. [With defense spending nearly 60% of the total discretionary budget that is the best category of spending to trim back, but even that seems to be off the table.]
Another question also pointed out this schizophrenic nature of Americans. About 77% of the people believe that the United States has the best system of government in the world.
But then when asked if the government is run for the big special interests or the benefit of all citizens, a full 65% said it was run for the big special interests. How can those two statements be reconciled? Are all other governments in the world even worse than a government run for big special interests?
I'm amazed. Evidently we need a smaller government, but this must be accomplished without cutting programs. Where is reality?
The Republicans like to talk a lot about how horrible our national debt is, but when they are in power they are the worst contributors to increasing that debt. Isn't it time to stop listening to what they say and pay attention to what they do?
And, by the way, under the leadership of Republican Gov. Rick Perry and a Republican controlled legislature the Texas budget deficit is now $21 billion in the hole!
Interview with Jeff Weems by Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff Jeff Weems is the Democratic candidate for Railroad Commissioner. Weems is a Houston-based attorney whose practice is entirely focused on the energy industry. It’s hard to overstate how much better qualified Weems is for this job than his no-name, no-experience opponent, who isn’t just ducking debates, he’s skipping TV appearances (though he did participate in this Trib face-off video) and avoiding editorial boards as well. Basically, he’s hoping that the R next to his name carries him across the finish line. If you want to know what a Railroad Commissioner does, why we should be calling the Railroad Commission something else, and why Jeff Weems should be doing the job, give a listen to the interview: Interview with Hector Uribe by Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff Hector Uribe is the Democratic candidate for Land Commissioner. Uribe is a former State Rep and State Senator from the Rio Grande Valley and a movie actor as well as [Kuff's] favorite candidate from this cycle. He’s running against two-term incumbent Jerry Patterson, who to his great credit has willingly engaged in open debate with Uribe, thus setting him apart from pretty much all of his Republican statewide colleagues. Though the tone of this campaign has been remarkably civil, there are many issues on which Uribe believes Patterson has done the wrong thing. You can hear all about it in the interview: Interview with Hank Gilbert by Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff Hank Gilbert who is running for Agriculture Commissioner. Gilbert ran in 2006 and was the top non-judicial vote-getter for the Democrats that year. Gilbert is a rancher from the Tyler area who has remained actively involved in state politics since his 2006 campaign. Other than the Governor’s race, this one has gotten more attention than any other. Gilbert has relentlessly attacked incumbent Commissioner Todd Staples on a wide variety of issues. You can hear more of that in the interview: Interview with Barbara Radnofsky by Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff Towards the top of the ballot is Barbara Radnofsky, who is the Democratic candidate for Attorney General. Radnofsky, the 2006 Democratic nominee for Senate, is an attorney and mediator who has remained very active in state politics since her previous run. Radnofsky has been strongly critical of two-term incumbent AG Greg Abbott for his headline-seeking (and frequently hypocritical) legal filings, as well as for the one he has chosen not to do, about which [Kuff] interviewed her before. All that and more in this interview: The Trib did an interview with Radnofsky a few weeks ago – audio and a transcript can be found here.
Download the MP3 file
Download the MP3 file
Download the MP3 file
Download the MP3 file
Interview with Jeff Weems by Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff
Jeff Weems is the Democratic candidate for Railroad Commissioner. Weems is a Houston-based attorney whose practice is entirely focused on the energy industry. It’s hard to overstate how much better qualified Weems is for this job than his no-name, no-experience opponent, who isn’t just ducking debates, he’s skipping TV appearances (though he did participate in this Trib face-off video) and avoiding editorial boards as well. Basically, he’s hoping that the R next to his name carries him across the finish line. If you want to know what a Railroad Commissioner does, why we should be calling the Railroad Commission something else, and why Jeff Weems should be doing the job, give a listen to the interview:
Interview with Hector Uribe by Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff
Hector Uribe is the Democratic candidate for Land Commissioner. Uribe is a former State Rep and State Senator from the Rio Grande Valley and a movie actor as well as [Kuff's] favorite candidate from this cycle. He’s running against two-term incumbent Jerry Patterson, who to his great credit has willingly engaged in open debate with Uribe, thus setting him apart from pretty much all of his Republican statewide colleagues. Though the tone of this campaign has been remarkably civil, there are many issues on which Uribe believes Patterson has done the wrong thing. You can hear all about it in the interview:
Interview with Hank Gilbert by Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff
Hank Gilbert who is running for Agriculture Commissioner. Gilbert ran in 2006 and was the top non-judicial vote-getter for the Democrats that year. Gilbert is a rancher from the Tyler area who has remained actively involved in state politics since his 2006 campaign. Other than the Governor’s race, this one has gotten more attention than any other. Gilbert has relentlessly attacked incumbent Commissioner Todd Staples on a wide variety of issues. You can hear more of that in the interview:
Interview with Barbara Radnofsky by Charles Kuffner at Off the Kuff
Towards the top of the ballot is Barbara Radnofsky, who is the Democratic candidate for Attorney General. Radnofsky, the 2006 Democratic nominee for Senate, is an attorney and mediator who has remained very active in state politics since her previous run. Radnofsky has been strongly critical of two-term incumbent AG Greg Abbott for his headline-seeking (and frequently hypocritical) legal filings, as well as for the one he has chosen not to do, about which [Kuff] interviewed her before. All that and more in this interview:
The Trib did an interview with Radnofsky a few weeks ago – audio and a transcript can be found here.
Earlier this week a Belo poll suggested Republican Gov. Rick Perry leads Democratic challenger Bill White by a 50 percent to 36 percent margin. John Reynolds reports in a Quorum Report article (subscribers only) that Lone Star Project's Matt Angle believes a Belo poll screening question disproportionately disqualified likely Bill White voters and thus discredits the survey. Specifically, Angle said that the survey screened respondents by asking if they voted in most or all school, local and primary elections. Angle said that is a very different screening question from the more common "Are you likely to vote in the next General Election?"
Angle said the Belo screening question eliminated voters who might not vote in every election, but would come out for a higher profile gubernatorial election. In addition, he said the screen question concentrates Republican respondents who tend to be the higher income homeowners who regularly turn out for local school elections. He said that the poll fell outside the range seen in other polls because it is unintentionally skewed to favor Perry.
Angle is correct in his assessment that Belo's screening question heavily skews the poll's coverage to favor Perry, but that is not the whole story. A second factor further skews toward the Republican side of the question in this and most other national and Texas polls.
Most pollsters, from national pollster Rasmussen to small Texas pollsters, call only people with published number landline telephones. Political polls that do not include respondents who subscribe exclusively to wireless cell phone service produce results that skew six or more points toward the conservative or Republican side of the question. The adoption of wireless-only phone service by major segments of the U.S. population has occurred so rapidly that political experts and pollsters are scrambling to adjust to the ramifications of this telecommunications earthquake.
Over the last 10 years pollsters have increasing relied on statistical weighting of landline telephone samples to correct for the omission of wireless-only households that new research reveals have a decidedly progressive tilt. According to Nate Silver of the FiveThirtyEight blog statistical weighting no longer sufficiently compensates for the omission of the 30% of U.S. households that have dropped traditional landline telephone service. (It is estimated that 30% of all U.S. households have become wireless-only during the last half of 2010.)
The rapid increase of wireless-only Americans now has a quantifiable impact on political polling results. Specifically, excluding wireless-only adults from political surveys has a statistically significant, negative impact on Democratic performance in political polling. This was confirmed in a recent study by Pew, which compared the national generic ballot preference of a landline-only sample of 4,683 registered voters with a combined landline and cell-phone sample of 7,055 registered voters:
In the landline sample, Republican candidates have a 47%-to-41% margin over Democratic candidates on the 2010 generic horse race, but in the combined sample voters are evenly divided in their candidate preferences for this November (44% for each party). A majority of cell-only voters (52%) say they will support the Democratic candidate in their district. There is still a margin of error in a poll with such a large sample size, but it is just barely over plus or minus 1%. As such, with an overall six-point gap, the survey shows a statistically significant difference between polls that include cell-phone only adults and polls that do not.
Telephone surveys since the 1960's, when they first grew to prominence, have traditionally relied on samples from published landline telephone numbers. The explosion of unpublished number wireless-only phone service over the last 10 years, and more recently Internet-based VOIP phone service, places a rapidly growing number of "unpublished phone number" Americans out of reach of those surveys. Nationally, more than one-in-four U.S. households now have no "published number" landline telephone, considerably more than in the early 1960s when telephone surveys were considered unreliable because so many households were unreachable by telephone.
While some pollsters are starting to include wireless-only respondents in their surveys most do not because of the higher cost to reach those wireless respondents. Many pollsters, particularly smaller local pollsters don't include wireless-only respondents because the cost of calling wireless numbers is more than double the cost of calling published number landline phone respondents.
It is difficult and more expensive for pollsters to interview wireless-only Americans because of the provision in the 1995 Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act (TCPA) that places restrictions on unsolicited calls to mobile phones. The TCPA forbids calling a cell phone using any automated telephone dialing system (autodialer) without prior express consent. This rule applies to all uses of autodialers and predictive dialers, including for survey and opinion research. So, when live-interviewer pollsters want to interview respondents on their cell phone, they must first surmount the problem of compiling a list of unpublished cell phone numbers. Then the live-interviewers must place the calls by manually dialing each number.
The most recent survey from the CDC covering the period of July-December 2009 shows that 24.5% of US households, and 22.9% of US adults, were wireless-only by the second half of 2009. This is a sharp increase over the past two years.
Adults living in U.S. households with wireless-only phone service.
Source CDC/NCHA, National Health Interview Survey.
In the second half of 2009 nearly half of adults aged 25–29 years (48.6%) lived in households with only wireless telephones. More than one-third of adults aged 18–24 or 30–34 (37.8% and 37.2%, respectively) lived in households with only wireless telephones. As age increased from 35 years, the percentage of adults living in households with only wireless telephones decreased: 23.9% for adults aged 35–44; 14.9% for adults aged 45–64; and 5.2% for adults aged 65 and over. Adults of all ages living in or near the poverty level, Hispanic adults and non-Hispanic black adults are also more likely to live in households with wireless-only phone service. The most progressive segments of the population are rapidly going wireless only.
When the CDC releases its second half of 2010 wireless-only report it is expected that more than 30% of all U.S. households will have unpublished number wireless-only phone service. Last May Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, wrote an interesting piece examining the effect wireless-only households now have on political polls. Silver predicts that if the current adoption trends hold, the percentage of wireless-only households could be in the mid to high 30s by election day November 2012. Furthermore, the CDC wireless-only figure does not fully reflect so-called "cellphone-mostly" households. Cellphone-mostly households are households that do have a landline, but that line is used for FAX or home security systems and it rarely or never used to receive incoming calls; another 15% of the population falls into this category.
The recent explosion of unpublished number Internet-base VOIP landline service subscriptions further increases the percentage of unpublished phone number households in certain metropolitan areas with high broadband Internet coverage. Collin Co. has very high residential broadband Internet coverage.
Previous research has shown that Rasmussen's use of a likely voter screen is not the reason why their polls now differ strongly from the trendline of all other polls. Since Rasmussen excludes wireless-only adults from their surveys (possibly due to restrictions on automated phone calls to cell phones), it is likely that the wireless-only effect is one of the main reasons that Rasmussen's likely voter polls are about six points more favorable to Republicans than other likely voter polls. Also, Rasmussen polls of all adults are six points more favorable to Republicans than other polls of all adults. This six-point pro-Republican tilt in national polling results is exactly the gap found by Pew in their landline-only sample.
State-level estimates for 2007 show that wireless-only adults are particularly prevalent in Arkansas, Kentucky and Texas. While 13.6% of the nation as a whole was wireless-only in 2007, Arkansas was already 21.2% wireless, Kentucky was 21.6% wireless and Texas was 20.9% wireless (PDF, page 5). Wireless-only households in these states likely continue above the national trend line, which means the percentage of wireless-only households in these states may already be in the low to mid 30's. The lack of wireless-only adult survey coverage by Rasmussen may explain why Rasmussen polls in Kentucky and Arkansas have skewed toward the most conservative candidates in primary and and general election surveys.
While Texas is one of the states leading in wireless-only adoption the metro areas surrounding Dallas and Austin lead most other Texas counties in unpublished number wireless-only phone coverage. Given the trends nationwide, it is likely that roughly one in three of all adults in Arkansas, Kentucky and Texas are now wireless-only. This would make for an even more pronounced localized landline only coverage effect gap than the national discrepancy found in Pew's 2010 study.
So, Belo's poll showing Republican Gov. Rick Perry leading Democratic challenger Bill White by a 50% to 36% margin is very likely skewed more that six points toward the Republican side of the question by the landline only coverage effect found in Pew's study, in addition to the right skewing nature of the Belo's "likely voter" screening question.
A just released Texas Lyceum Poll shows Perry leading White 48 percent to 43 percent, a margin of only five points. Adjusting the Texas Lyceum poll results for Pew's six point landline only coverage effect puts White dead even with Perry. If the landline only coverage effect is indeed greater than six points in Texas because Texas residents have a significantly higher wireless-only adoption rate, then White could even lead Perry in a dual-frame survey including both landline and wireless-only respondents. (also see Texas Lyceum Summary of Trial Ballots)
The rapid rise in wireless-only adults, along with the confirmation that those adults have a decidedly progressive tilt, helps explain some, and possibly all, of the recent right skewing of polls from Rasmussen and other polling firms. Americans are dumping landlines at a rapid rate, and those Americans do skew heavily toward progressive political viewpoints. Pew's "landline only poll coverage effect" finding puts a lie to the national media's mime that the nation's political mood has shifted so far right that the Tea Party movement now represents mainstream America. The truth is that Tea Party supporters still rely on old "copper wire" landline phones and they are the people being polled while everyone else who has gone totally wireless are not being polled.