Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Everything is bigger in Texas...including the chances that a Democrat will be a Governor there

Everything is bigger in Texas…
Public Policy Polling unveiled its latest poll, which happened to be in Texas. What they found might surprise you, well maybe. The poll was about Rick Perry and his political future. Public Policy Polling found him to be one of the least popular governors in the country with a 41/54 approval rating. They asked if he should run for re-election next year and only 31% said yes, while 62% said no. As we all know, Texas isn’t a liberal state, so what’s going on? Is Perry the victim of what many Republican candidates have been facing over the last few years?

Actually, he’s not. Most Republicans have found that they have lost support among the very conservative part of the party which usually is attracted to the Tea Party. The fringes are then able to chip away at the more moderate center, usually in primaries, and then are able to get their candidates elected. But, in Texas, the opposite is happening. Perry is not doing well with the moderate or somewhat conservative portions of the state. His approval rating with moderates is 24/72 and among those who describe themselves as somewhat conservative it’s 54/38. But the very conservative has his approval at 66/28. Who wants Perry to run for re-election? Well, that should be somewhat obvious. It’s those who classify themselves as very conservative. 59% of them would like to see him run for re-election. While only 34% oppose. Among the somewhat conservatives, only 37% want him to run while 52% do not. It’s even worse among moderates where only 14% of self-described moderates want him to run for re-election while 80% do not. Unlike most places where Republicans look vulnerable, Perry has lost his support among the more moderate part of his party. When we look at party identifiers, we might see a slightly different story. 55% of Republicans would like Perry to run for re-election while 39% do not. Those who are independent/other, only 16% of them would like Perry to run for re-election while 73% do not. But if we think of political strategy, it would make more sense for Independents, Democrats, and those who oppose Perry running for re-election to actually favor Perry to run for re-election because he does not have a strong hold on the governor’s mansion. There’s actually a stronger candidate for Republicans in Texas. That might be a good thing for the GOP in Texas.
Among GOP primary voters, 41% of them want Perry to run for re-election while 47% think it’s time for someone else. Perry might have a tough primary battle ahead of him if Attorney General Greg Abbott decides to run. Perry only leads Abbott 41-38 among GOP primary voters. It might make some sense for the GOP to have a more competitive primary for the gubernatorial election, if it is going to help them maintain the state. They would have to weigh the cost of holding the primary, the cost for each candidate to spend from their war chest, and the cost that they might come off badly in the primary against the perceived benefit of beating Perry and having a stronger candidate or having Perry emerge as a stronger candidate. Public Policy Polling has Perry trailing 2010 Democratic nominee Bill White 47-44. He is beating other proposed candidates though, including San Antonio mayor Julian Castro (47-42), state senator Wendy Davis 47-41), and Houston mayor Anise Parker (47-40). These margins grow when the hypothetical matchups are switched with Abbott running instead of Perry. Abbott is leading White 46-39, Castro 46-36, Davis 46-34, and over Parker 47-35. Unless Perry turns it around quickly, he might be headed for defeat in the primary while the Texas GOP might just want Perry to retire.

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