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Texas Polling Poorly for Perry

Governor not even leading in Lone Star State any more

By Richard Whittaker, 12:10PM, Tue. Jan. 17, 2012

Gov. Rick Perry: Third in Texas. Wait, what?
Gov. Rick Perry: Third in Texas. Wait, what?
Photo by John Anderson

There's been a lot of to-and-fro about whether the Republican Party of Texas might want a split primary so Gov. Rick Perry can have one Super Tuesday win. New numbers from Public Policy Polling showing Perry losing in Texas to both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich may make that point moot.

The poll of 559 likely GOP primary voters, held between Jan. 12 and Jan. 15, may be the final sign (if another was needed) that Perry's presidential aspirations are now running on vanity and a cavalier disregard for political reality (39% of respondents say that his campaign is hurting Texas' image, while only 13% say it's a plus.) In a surprisingly strongly-worded statement, PPP president Dean Debnam called these numbers "an embarrassment" for Perry, adding that "it’s pretty bad when you get to the point where you’re not even in the top two in your own home state."

How bad are they? Well, when asked who was their first pick for presidential nominee, Romney (24%) and Gingrich (23%) are in a statistical tie for first place, followed by Perry (18%), evangelical favorite Rick Santorum (15%) and Ron Paul (12%). Perry also comes fourth on "second choice" (actually, technically he, Romney, Gingrich and Santorum are in a low-teens statistical tie for second place, while "Unsure" wins on 39%.)

Just for some context: Perry, who has staked his political future on South Carolina, is currently running fifth on 6% in multiple polls in the Palmetto State. However, no matter how badly South Carolinians reject him, Perry has already committed to move on to Florida where he is flickering between 2% and 4%. Considering the baffling commitment to staying on the trail, no matter how much donor money is burnt, it seems unlikely these new Texas numbers will dent the Perry camp's enthusiasm.

Here's where it may get even more alarming for Perry in Texas. Even though he tops the favorability index with 60% approval (compared to 53% for Santorum, 48% for Gingrich, 44% for Romney and only 32% for Paul), he's still trailing in third as the presidential pick for Texas Republicans. That means that even people who like him don't like him enough to vote for him.

The bad news rolls on for Perry: He's also in a statistical tie with Romney in a straight head-to-head (46%-45%.) The bad news for Romney is that the only clear head-to-head win for him is against Paul (64%-25%).

And what about Paul? 90% of people polled had an opinion of the state's other presidential aspirant, but 59% of respondents said they had an unfavorable opinion of him. And that's gotta hurt.

Read the full numbers here.

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