1. There isn't really a clear set of criteria that the media is using in this upcoming race. They're primarily looking for a candidate that can ease some of the partisan gridlock.
2. Focus on the platforms is minimal in the article. The focus is instead on purely political factors such as associations, political record, fundraising potential, etc.
3. The "permanent campaign" refers to the idea that politicians are always in a race for office: they're campaigning before they even actually run(trying to build a reputation), and campaigning for reelection as soon as they win(trying to maintain that reputation). The result is that politicians today are more followers than leaders, and conduct their business from the perspective of a political analyst, and not a statesman.
4. Being identified as an early leader in any election race can be either an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on the candidate. Rick Perry was identified as an early leader in 2012, but for him, it only made his gaffes more devastating. Other candidates, however, can use the early momentum and hang onto it throughout the race; for them it is an advantage to be favored early.
Texas remains a Republican-leaning state because its white residents are becoming increasingly Republican and its large Hispanic population, though solidly Democratic, is less so than Hispanics nationally.
1. Democrats are hopeful of a party realignment in Texas because of the state's growing Hispanic population--Hispanics are consistently left-leaning--which represents an influx of blue voters that could tip the scales of the state. Soon, the state's white cititzens will make up less than half of the population, and the state will have a minority majority.
2. The party identification trend in Texas is that any given demographic will be more right-leaning than nationally. For instance, even though Hispanics in Texas still lean left, the margin by which Hispanic blue voters outweigh Hispanic red voters is much smaller.
3. Despite any meteoric rise in Texas' Hispanic population, this demographic is unlikely to exercise its newfound political clout because Hispanic voters are much less likely to participate in elections than other demographics. The real challenge for Democrats therefore is not to win over the Hispanic population--they already lean left--but to get them to register and vote.
4. The study was a random survey conducted by telephone. Respondents were found using random-dialing methods in an even geographical spread. 50% of respondents were reached by landline, and the other 50% of respondents were reached by cell phone, to control for demographic trends regarding phone use.
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