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Houston Breakthrough, July 1980 - August 1980
Page 12
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Houston Breakthrough, July 1980 - August 1980 - Page 12. July 1980 - August 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 22, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/286/show/269.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(July 1980 - August 1980). Houston Breakthrough, July 1980 - August 1980 - Page 12. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/286/show/269

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, July 1980 - August 1980 - Page 12, July 1980 - August 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 22, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/286/show/269.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, July 1980 - August 1980
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date July 1980 - August 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Texas
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 33 page periodical
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 12
File name femin_201109_562al.jpg
Transcript RICHARD MURRAY On politics—polls, projections and show biz •BY MORRIS EDELSON- Professor Richard W. Murray, of the University of Houston Political Science Department, is the city's best-known political analyst. He has had a busy year in 1980, with local, state and presidential election prediction for local and national media, candidates and students and fans of the election game. Nationally, Murray is known as an interpreter of Houston, the city being an interesting urban phenomenon running counter to the trend of decay and contraction in America's major cities. Murray has pointed out in a soon-to- be-published analysis that Houston alone of all American cities continues to grow as much currently as it did in the 50's and 60's. The basis for this growth is a continuing economic vitality in the energy industries, the companies which own the city. Houston is a one-horse town, with a still-healthy steed (oil) outperforming the multiple mounts of cities like Detroit (autos) or Seattle (airplanes). The last economic frontier in the country, Houston exhibits frontier styles in culture and politics, Murray believes. Only very recently have sectors of the public begun to fight over public issues such as the quality of the environment, racial equality, and who governs what for whom. A growth and development elite has controlled the all-important mayor's office which has facilitated unregulated sprawl and acquisition. Things may be changing because the anarchy inherent in laissez-faire capita/ism has created too much hardship for too many: The Chamber of Commerce's banging boom drum does not cover the stench of uncollected garbage, the sight of broken-down buses, the jarring potholes, and the growing areas of substandard housing. Politics, as the awareness of disenfran- M orris Edelson is an editor of Breakthrough and a former writer for the New York Times. chisement spreads even to Houston, will become more interesting, says Murray. He expects higher turnouts for political events, more party awareness, and a greater challenge to the business elites that are entrenched in power in Houston. The 20th Century is on its way, he warns in this Breakthrough interview, conducted in his office, with Morris Edelson. Morris Edelson: What do you call your crystal ball? Richard Murray: There's really no formal, incorporated name. I do a number of things politically. Basically, I teach political science. But I do a good deal of political polling, as well as election projections for the news media. That is quite a separate thing from polling. Polling tries to find out what people's attitudes are and just incidentally how they might vote. Projections you see on election night, people indicating how the vote is going, and, in important elections, why it is going as it is. It's mostly show biz. Polling is fairly serious, much more scientific. ME: On the basis of polling can you make prognostications? RM: Yes, you can. Also I try to do a lot of aggregate analysis, past voting patterns of areas' previous votes. There is a lot of consistency in voting. Things change, but they change within limits. What polls do— if you have that as background—you can see what things are likely to happen this year, what will be different. ME: Do you use computers in polling, or a trick-or-treat door-to-door approach? RM: Computers. There's no great magic associated with them—it's just that when you process large amounts of data it is more efficient to do it with a machine than by hand. Computers are inexpensive now. You can buy computer time for relatively small amounts of money. The major problems in polling are the human ones. Designing surveys, getting the field research done, coding the data. We don't have too many people knocking on doors. I use telephones because it is inordinately expensive to do personal interviewing. The differences in accuracy are not great enough to warrant the expense. If you did a set of interviews in a Congressional district, you are talking about $30,000 to $40,000 for personal interviews, and that's prohibitive. For $3,000 or $4,000 you might be able to do a comparable telephone survey. ME: You've done polling for how many years? RM: About ten years. ME: What trends do you see? RM: I would say by way of background that in Houston you don't have a very politically-oriented community. The politics here are not for many people a sport or a game, something that people are tremendously interested in. I am, and you are, and most of the readers of Breakthrough are, but we're a minority. That's Houston. It's a city that has grown up very quickly in recent years; it's attracted people because of the economic opportunity. Diverse populations have come here—blacks and white Southerners, Mexican-American, Yankees, and now Vietnamese. There is one consistency: the economic opportunities are better here. The newcomers enter a system that is not highly organized politically, like, say Chicago was in the 20's or 30's. No machine is here; parties are not very strong. Most of these people don't know much about local politics. They're here to make a living. There's lots of alternate activities. They don't get involved, and the only elections that draw very heavy participation are presidential elections. That's a universal race. The issues and candidates are understandable. The second level of interest here seems to be the mayoral elections. That's because there are conflicts in Houston, particularly in recent years along racial lines, 12 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH