Soon after her famous filibuster in the Texas Senate, Wendy Davis's favorability measured by Public Policy Polling (PPP) was 39/29. In a hypothetical match-up against Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, she trailed by only 8 points, 48-40. There was an idea out there, I was one of them, who thought that Davis could pull off the upset over Abbott in a gubernatorial election. The thought was that Davis could keep her net favorability around the same as she increased her name recognition throughout the state. That thought was ultimately foolish.
In November of 2013, Davis's net favorability had already plummeted. It had been +10 in June and had fell to -6 by November. While Abbott's net favorability had also fallen, he was getting his name out there. Davis's favorability plummeted with Republicans and Democrats and fell slightly among Independents. In Texas, without bipartisan support a Democratic candidate will not have a chance to win. Davis was losing popularity with Democrats in Texas, even. Many people wanted Davis to be able to pull off this upset, so they ignored these numbers in conjunction with the party registration advantage for Abbott.
By April of 2014, Davis's favorability fell even more. Republican Governor Rick Perry's favorability had rebounded and his net favorability finally ventured into positive territory. Abbott's favorability has skyrocketed since November. All of this has led to Abbott leading Davis by 14 points in the most recent poll. It would take some type of miracle for Davis to be able to get back into this election.
While people talk about the possibility of Texas becoming a swing state in every election cycle, the 2014 election was supposed to be the tipping point to move it further. Julian Castro has suggested that Texas can be a swing state by 2016. This isn't a change that can happen overnight. There will have to be unsuccessful runs by various politicians to get Texas to the point of becoming a swing state. The political infrastructure is starting to get put in place for Texas to change. Those doing groundwork in Texas for Davis should not get discouraged if they want to change Texas. They should be encouraged by the amount of work that they were able to do for Davis. Even an unsuccessful campaign can lead to eventual change. If we were expecting Davis to be successful this time, we should change our way of thinking.