Only 33% of voters in the state think he should make a bid for the White House compared to 59% opposed to him running. More surprising than that? Perry actually trails Barack Obama 47-45 in a hypothetical match up in the state.
Perry’s trailing Obama certainly has nothing to do with the President being popular. Only 42% of voters in the state like the job he’s doing to 55% who rate him poorly. Texas is a Republican state to begin with him and Obama has a lot more Democrats (14%) who disapprove of him than GOP voters who approve (6%) and beyond that he’s on negative ground with independents at 46/47.
Perry, however, is almost as unpopular. Only 43% of voters approve of him with 52% giving him bad marks. Most striking in Perry’s numbers is a horrible 33/62 standing with independents. He also has 21% of Republicans disapproving of him while only 12% of Democrats cross over to give him good marks. Perry may prove to be a strong Presidential candidate but his numbers in Texas are nothing to write home about.
Palin also supposedly trails Obama by two points. In Texas, which hasn’t voted Democratic since Jimmy Carter was elected in the aftermath of Watergate. (Romney, T-Paw, and Bachmann fare better, each leading Obama by various margins.) Anyone seriously believe that? Even a squish like McCain took Texas by 12 points despite an exit poll showing an almost even split among Republicans, Democrats, and independents. What’s that margin going to look like after four full years of Hopenchange “magic,” with a local boy possibly as the GOP nominee?
On the other hand, Ed Kilgore of TNR noted a few weeks ago that Perry may not be the rock star at home that he is nationally:
On top of it all, persistent doubts about Perry’s competence (and in some quarters, honesty) have made him less than a political powerhouse in his home state of Texas, even as the state’s powerful Republican trend in the last decade, along with an energy-industry-boom, have given him enormous advantages. In 2006, for instance, he only won 39 percent of the general election vote in a peculiar, four-way gubernatorial race (with one independent candidate, the comedic musician and novelist Kinky Friedman, probably taking most of his double-digit-percentage vote from Perry’s Democratic opponent). In 2010, meanwhile, he won by solid margins against his primary challenger, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and his general election opponent, Houston Mayor Bill White—but this was right at the peak of the Tea Party uprising, which Perry very successfully exploited, and the fact remains that he was vulnerable enough to draw these legitimate challenges in the first place. His relationship with Texas Republicans, moreover, has always been somewhat shaky, as evidenced by the revolt of GOP legislators against a business tax plan Perry pushed through a few years ago, and his rumored frosty relations with his great benefactors, the Bush family. And even his friends in the social conservative wing of the Texas GOP were appalled by his 2007 proposal to require that every sixth-grade girl in Texas be vaccinated for the HPV virus.
All in all, you have to wonder why Texans, including hard-core conservatives, seem less impressed than people in other states with the prospect of a Perry presidential run. Some appear to be stunned at the very idea, treating him as a sort of Chauncey Gardiner figure who has stumbled, through remarkable luck, into the national spotlight.
Can a guy who’s been governor for 10 and a half years really be regarded so poorly by his constituents? Well, the Texas Tribune polled the locals on the GOP presidential field late last month, before Perrymania had taken off. First place was “don’t know” with 14 percent; Palin was next at 12 percent. Rick Perry? Tenth place at just four percent, two points behind … Donald Trump. Hmmmm. (However, 48 percent said they’d vote for the GOP nominee, whoever that may be, versus just 30 percent who said they’d vote for Obama.)
But that was then and this is now. Two more national polls for you to chew on as a gloss on this. First, a Marist poll of tea-party supporters found Perry leading with 20 percent, three points ahead of, er, Mitt Romney. I shall graciously let that result pass without comment. And a new Fox News national poll published within the past hour has Romney on top with 18 percent but Perry in second place with a bullet at 13 percent. Bachmann is third with 11 percent, then Giuliani with 10 and Palin with eight. With a field that wide open, how does RP not run?