John Cornyn Leads Steve Stockman By 44 Points In First Texas Senate Poll

Steve Stockman John Cornyn

As I noted the other day, Congressman Steve Stockman made a surprise last minute entrance into the Texas Senate race by challenging Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn in the GOP Primary, which will occur on March 4th. If the first poll in the race is any indication, though, he’s going to have difficult race ahead of him:

Texas Sen. John Cornyn starts out his 2014 primary fight a whopping 44 points ahead of his most prominent conservative challenger, Rep. Steve Stockman, according to private GOP polling obtained by POLITICO.

In a survey conducted by the Republican firm Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, Cornyn held a wide advantage over Stockman, leading 50 percent to 6 percent. Other candidates took 5 percent of the vote, and 39 percent of those surveyed were undecided.

Pollster Chris Perkins, who works for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and state Attorney General Greg Abbott, the presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee, said the poll was not paid for by any client.

“With less than three months until the Republican primary for United States Senate, John Cornyn is in a very strong position,” Perkins wrote in a polling memo.

The numbers illustrate the challenge ahead for Stockman, a flamboyantly pugilistic back-bencher who took the Republican Party by surprise this week when he announced his campaign to unseat “liberal John Cornyn.”


n order to have a shot at beating the Republican incumbent, Stockman will have to hope that the senator’s support drops below 50 percent and forces the race into a runoff, giving Stockman an opportunity to consolidate anti-Cornyn votes in his camp.

The WPA poll is the first survey of the Texas race since Stockman announced his campaign Monday evening. The live-caller poll tested 762 likely Texas Republican primary voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Stockman spokesman Donny Ferguson said in an email that the poll is “bad news for liberal John Cornyn,” arguing that it proves “Texans aren’t happy with Cornyn’s record.”

One wonders if Stockman’s spokesman was reading the same poll as the rest of us, or doing so from the same universe. What I see is a guy down 44 points with less than three months to go until primary day in a race against a guy with a $7,000,000 war chest that will only get bigger while he himself has only $32,000 cash on hand and a campaign debt of $163,000. Is it possible that Stockman will become more competitive? I suppose, but at the moment it isn’t looking very good for him.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Joyner says:

    So you’re saying Stockman has a chance?

  2. PJ says:

    This is a private poll that someone decided should be released to the public, so the poll is, in my view, worthless.

    Polls have become very important for shaping narratives, so the media should be more cautious when reporting about polls. There’s a clear difference between a pollster doing public polls to sell its services and private polls being released with the expressed intention to shape a narrative.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Stockman spokesman Donny Ferguson said in an email that the poll is “bad news for liberal John Cornyn,” arguing that it proves “Texans aren’t happy with Cornyn’s record.”

    Hahahahahahahahahaha …..
    This wasn’t written by writers for The Daily Show or the Colbert Report? Are you sure?

  4. Tillman says:

    If in three months we’re talking about the Stockman surge in a non-sexual way…

  5. Pinky says:

    Thirty-two grand should be enough to saturate the media markets in Texas. It’s not just that it’s a small state; it’s that all the population centers are clustered in a very small area.

  6. Neil Hudelson says:


    Thirty-two grand should be enough to saturate the media markets in Texas

    It’s been a few years since I worked on campaigns in Texas, but I remember there being about 20 significant media markets in Texas: Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, Abilene, Corpus Christi, Laredo, Lubbock, Whichita Falls, Odessa, Tyler, and even a significant area around Shreveport–just off the top of my head. I know there are quite a few I’m not remembering.

    $32,000 will “saturate” the media market for approximately one 30-second spot, ran once. And I’m being very, very, very generous.

    There’s this idea that as long as you target the Big 5 (Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso) you will reach most of the voters. That is not true. You WILL reach a significant number of citizens, but all those “little” cities with a MSA of only a quarter of a million people have a higher number of active voters, per capita, than the larger cities. They cannot be ignored.

    No. $32,000 is not enough.