His favorable rating is still nice and healthy at 60/32 whereas Romney’s is a mere 44/44. And yet he trails Mitt by six overall and by a point even when they’re matched up head to head. In Texas. Where Perry led four months ago by 39 points.

He lost his appeal to get on the ballot in Virginia today, but come Saturday that shouldn’t be a concern for him anymore. Bigger disappointment: The Perry campaign or the Packers?

What might be most shocking on this poll is that Romney edges Perry 46-45 if Republican voters had to pick just between the two of them. When we asked that identical question four months ago Perry led Romney 72-18. There’s been a 55 point shift in Romney’s direction…

Beyond being bad news for Perry these numbers show the extent to which Republicans are starting to unify around Romney. He’s consistently fared pretty poorly in our Texas polling but he’s gained 14 points of support over the last four months to take this modest lead. If he’s ahead in Texas he’s probably ahead just about everywhere.

The killer:

I’m amazed at how unforgiving voters have been of him. Go look at his national polling over the course of the campaign; the last time he cracked 20 percent in any survey was nearly four months ago, in late September. With just three exceptions, he hasn’t cracked so much as 10 percent since his “oops” moment in early November. He’s been better at the debates since then and has campaigned doggedly in Iowa and South Carolina, and yet … nothing. No second look, not even a minor surge. Rasmussen’s last national poll, taken earlier this month, had him even with Jon Huntsman of all people. My only explanation for why his numbers have languished even as everyone else has gotten a bounce is that the hype from his splashy entry into the race ended up killing him. He was touted as a conservative savior who’d spare us from having to nominate Romney and when he performed badly the “emperor has no clothes” perception took hold. He’s never shaken it; sometimes it feels to me like voters are actually trying to punish him for disappointing them. (Seriously, New Hampshire: Not even one percent for the governor of Texas?) Either that or the “oops” moment convinced a huge number of voters that Perry’s simply not bright enough to be president. That’s a bad rap given how he’s held his own since then, but it is what it is. Once you’re pigeonholed, I guess, there’s no getting out of it.

He got some attention on the trail in SC this afternoon by noting not once but twice in passing that Santorum is Catholic. I don’t want to believe that Perry would stoop to doing that deliberately, but follow the link and decide for yourself. As for what he said last night about Turkey being led by Islamic terrorists (or, more accurately, occasional enablers of Islamic terrorism), I’m not sure why you’d want to free them up to go full-metal Islamist by chasing them out of NATO instead of maintaining ties and trying to pull them back towards the west. They’ll have more influence over whatever emerges in the Middle East after the Arab Spring than we will, especially in Syria. What do we get in return for throwing that away under the Perry plan? Or was this just a little empty “tough on terror” posturing he was doing without regard for how it might play with Turkey?