Lies, damn lies, and.. . Political rivals used to have a lot of fun calling each other liars and foolseverybody expected it, it was often entertaining, and it helped thinkalike candidates acquire separate identities in the minds of the voters. But this year’s major-party statewide candidates, who run the usual gamut from reactionary to moderately conservative, don’t seem to have the stomach for good oldfashioned name-calling. \(Bob Bullock may be the exception, but he’s unfortunately running unopposed and therefore darkly about each other’s statistics. Polls, that is. The latest round of kidglove sparring began when Democrat Bob Krueger claimed that he was catching up with Republican Sen. John Tower. He based the assertion on data collected by Washington, D.C., polling whiz Patrick Caddell and Henson-Hopkins Associates of Austin. According to the July results, which Caddell described in glowing terms in an internal memorandum that was obviously intended for public consumption \(it ended up as part Braunfels Democrat was less than two percentage points behind the incumbentenough to make Tower jumpy if he believed the poll, and more to the point, enough perhaps to shake some cash loose from the moneybags who haven’t decided which candidate they want to invest in yet. Of course, Tower didn’t believe a word of it, and in August, after some haughty sniffing at the unseemly partisanship Caddell had displayed and the sampling techniques he had used, the Republican trotted out his own pollster, V. Lance Tarrance of Houston, to say that Tower was in fact 13 points ahead of Krueger. And just to show how untainted his sampling methods were, he added 21 pages of background information to the press release that announced the good news. Included in the packet were such .tokens of scientific authenticity as a map showing the sampling distribution of the August Tower survey; a diagram showing shifts in votes among 500 persons queried by Tarrance on two different occasions \(the diagram was labeled Game No. 5part of the overall Tower presenpages of curriculum vitae for Tarrance; and the code of professional ethics and practices for pollsters. This last was intended to help reporters weigh Caddell’s biased presentation against Tarrance’s scrupulous professionalism, you see. Well, six days after this Tower manifesto appeared, Krueger’s people cranked out another press release reaffirming the conclusions of the first poll. Campaign manager Garry Mauro, displaying a new poll showing Tower and Krueger dead even at 41 percent \(with 1 percent for La Raza candidate Luis de Leon and the rest undecided or not renot “statistically within possibility.” Furthermore, said Mauro, just ask Democratic candidates Bob Gammage, Martin Frost, Marvin Leath or Nelson Wolffyou’ll find Krueger ahead in all of their district polls, and they wouldn’t kid you. \(Stay tuned for Tower rebuttal Meanwhile, Republican Jim Baker was pronouncing himself “highly encouraged” by the results of a poll showing 41 percent of those queried were undecided on their choice for state attorney general. \(He didn’t say how many responded Bush league ai Seems that “play ball” means “boys only” in the University Interscholastic League. This spring the UIL’s director ruled that Pamela Jacobs, a sophomore at the high school in Wells, on her school’s only baseball team solely because she’s a girl. Wait a minute! Didn’t a federal judge in Houston just recently award a female high school student there the right to team? Sure, said UIL director Bailey Marshall, but that ruling applied to that case only. Claimed Marshall: “This does not mean that girls are eligible for boys’ baseball teams.” Wells school officials, who’d kind of like to keep Jacobs on the team, asked the Texas Education Agency to clear up the ensuing confusion, and the word came back from Austin that the school was simply complying by asking whether there really was a sioned by a Houston television station, so Baker cannot be accused of the sin he dates: setting up a “puff job orchestrated by campaign staff for selfserving purposes.” However, he may be “prematurely overjoyed,” according to John Staples, the Houston pollster who ran the surveywhich showed Baker trailing Democrat Mark White by a 37-to-22 margin among those who had decided. Another polling expert termed Baker’s optimism “whistling in the dark,” and explained, “Everybody is always happy about the undecideds when they have nothing else to be happy about.” Sandy Dochen, White’s press coor dinator, had what should but certainly won’t be the last word on the subject: “Big deal. What do polls mean anyway? I think polling is just a sniping contest.” Jo Clifton with Title IX of the Civil Rights Act by allowing Jacobs to play. Undaunted, the UIL’s Marshall fired off another letter to the Wells school superintendent insisting that Jacobs’s presence on the baseball team “is a violation of the League rules.” “Please keep in mind,” he stressed, “that there are as many interpretations of Title IX as there are interpreters. There is only one interpretation of the UIL rules.” Marshall conveniently neglected to mention that federal law just might take precedence over his outfit’s prescriptions, but the Texas ACLU has filed a class action sex discrimination suit on behalf of Pamela Jacobs to remind him of this possibility. Of course, the UIL doesn’t think it’s discriminating. After all, the UIL lets girls play softballit’s just too bad that the little high school in Wells doesn’t field a softball team. Sherry Smith THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
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