21 September 2018
For Immediate Release
AUSTIN - The congressional race for District 17 in Texas is shifting into high gear, and a new poll from the campaign of Democratic challenger Rick Kennedy, shows the race is tighter than any previous election for the incumbent.
A poll run by Change Research*, a Public Benefit Corporation, revealed only a 14% gap between a head to head contest between Kennedy and Flores.
Previous Flores elections have been separated by nothing less than 25 points. Midterm elections in 2010 and 2014 were won by 25 and 32 points respectively. The presidential election in 2012 Flores won by 59 points but in 2016 his lead shrank to 25 points.
Additionally, the poll revealed that 22% of voters in the district did not know the incumbent Bill Flores, who has been in Congress since he was first elected in 2010.
“I was astonished that despite being their Congressman for 8 years, nearly 1 in 4 people in the district don’t know who he is” said Kennedy. “These numbers validate what I’ve been hearing on the campaign trail. Residents of the 17th want somebody who hears their voices and represents their interests, not the interests of PACs and corporations in Washington. Despite continuous protests from his constituents he hasn’t held an in-person town hall meeting in years. Constituents shouldn’t be the people you come home to hide from – they should be the people you come home to listen to."
Change Research polled a representative 961 registered voters in the Texas district.
The poll also asked which issues are most important to voters. Illegal immigration, Jobs and the Economy, and Health Care topped the list. 28.4% of Republican respondents identified Illegal Immigration as their top issue vs. only 8.1% of Democrats. Conversely, 27.8% of Democrats identified Health Care as their #1 issue vs. only 3% of Republicans.
Kennedy said “I was surprised that immigration topped the list – that’s not what I’ve been hearing on the trail. But of course, not a lot of Republican voters come to my events. That’s why I have to be open to all sources of information. As Congressman I’ll be representing all of my constituents and I have to take their concerns into consideration.”
Additionally, 42% feel that we should definitely build a wall along the Mexican border, while 45% feel we definitely should not. 13% reported having very favorable feelings towards Bill Flores while 16% have very unfavorable feelings. 35% reported having very favorable feelings towards President Trump while 41% have very unfavorable feelings.
“The numbers also show the 17th is polarized just like the rest of the nation – at least among voters who identify with one party or the other” Kennedy said. “People are hungry for politicians who can unite us. Yes, we’ll fight like cats and dogs over policies – that’s the American way. But at the end of the day our leaders should be reminding us that conversation and compromise are the keys to progress and that regardless of our differences we’re all Americans. A divide America is a defeated America.”
The Texas 17th has been a red district since the 2010 election, but these poll numbers show what a lot of experts have been saying for a while now -- Texas is changing.
“I’m very encouraged by these numbers. With no PAC or corporate money, minimal paid staff, no support from the national party, with only the hard work of knocking on doors, making phone calls, writing postcards, and countless face to face meetings with voters we’re much closer than anybody has been since my opponent took office.”
“There’s a dark horse race in every Congressional Election. The race that produces a shocking result that has TV producers scrambling to reposition reporters on election night. This year that race is right here in the 17th.”
* Polling provided by Change Research, a Public Benefit Corporation, per a 971 poll of self-identified registered voters in Texas' 17th Congressional District in the United States, conducted between August 30 - September 1, 2018.
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