“Today, 57 percent of voters think President Obama will be re-elected. That’s about double the 29 percent who thought so in December. And the 36 percent of voters who don’t expect him to be re-elected is a major shift from the 64 percent who felt that way previously (December 14-15, 2010).

“This change is likely due — at least in part — to the killing of Usama bin Laden and the lack of a clear Republican opponent.

“Voters were also asked if President Obama deserves to be re-elected. By a 50-43 percent margin, voters think he does.”

“I can’t help but wonder if this is why so many conservatives feel dissatisfied with the current crop. Regional affinity is an underdiscussed, but hugely important factor in national electoral politics. It matters in so many ways.

“For instance, it can influence whether a voter and candidate think about the world and politics the same way, whether they frame and discuss issues the same way, and whether they have similar intensity levels when it comes to politics. Even differences in accent can matter — one group of voters can view a candidate as one of their own while another group harbors suspicions, thanks in part to a candidate’s dialect. Another factor that can depend on regional background is what we might call a candidate’s ideological range of movement. Republicans from the Sunbelt tend to come from much more conservative states (especially when it comes to labor laws), which enables statewide leaders to govern comfortably from the right. Meanwhile, leaders from the Midwest and especially the Northeast have to contend with an electorate much more full of liberals and union workers.

“In other words, those three big grievances — conservatism, authenticity, and excitement — could all be consequences (in part) of a substantial regional mismatch between voters and candidates this cycle.

“In conclusion, it’s fair to say that a field without a prime Sunbelt contender is really missing something. I think this is a big reason why Rick Perry is reportedly considering a run for the White House.”

“If a candidate dominates the South — and it’s much easier for a Southern candidate to do that — he’ll have made a lot of headway into winning the votes and delegates that he’ll need to secure his party’s nomination. Certainly there have been regional and factional candidates — think George Wallace, for example — who did well in the South but poorly elsewhere. But a candidate like Mr. Perry, who would have advantages like fundraising and establishment support that would extend to all corners of the country, might be more like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, doing very well in the South and still well enough outside of it to win his party’s nomination.

“For a Republican candidate, in fact, this advantage may be especially powerful because of a demographic quirk related to Iowa, the first and most important state in the nominating process. Some 60 percent of Iowa Republican voters are born-again Christians — about the same fraction as in many Southern states. That’s why Southern Republicans have done so well in the state.

“Now we can imagine an even more advantageous path for a candidate like Mr. Perry. He’d stand a good chance at doing well in Iowa, and if he did, he’d probably follow it up with a win in South Carolina, and possibly also Florida. And then he’d pick up plenty of delegates in the Southern states that voted on Super Tuesday and beyond — including of course Texas, which itself accounts for 140 delegates.”

“Gov. Perry has been governor of the nation’s second largest state for 10 years, and was Lt Gov, Agriculture Commissioner and a legislator before that. Texas geography, population and economy make it larger than most countries, thus, experience at the helm of Texas is excellent preparation for the presidency. There is a negative in all that, that Perry can fairly be called a ‘career politician,’ but he is one career politician who has a real record to tout and who has retained his deep skepticism of government as the source of all our answers. Texas under Perry’s watch has avoided the dire straits the other large states find themselves in, and it has consistently been the nation’s economic leader, creating more jobs and winning more accolades than any other state. Texas’ housing market has been the nation’s most stable during Perry’s watch, and Americans keep voting with their feet by making Texas the nation’s top interstate migration destination. Perry does not deserve all of the credit for this record, but he does deserve a good share of it, because during his tenure the often divided Texas government, in which 29 major offices are elected statewide, has functioned as a unified team with Perry in the lead. This team has kept Texas’ tax burden low despite hard times, and has kept Texas’ government among the smallest in the nation. Rick Perry is, as he is quick to mention, not George W. Bush. If he ran for president the comparison would be unavoidable, but Perry’s record is to the right of Bush’s. Perry is in many ways the man the liberals feared George W. Bush was, but Perry is a better stump speaker and has served in office at more levels than his predecessor…

“Right now, Gov. Perry’s name recognition outside the state of Texas is not high. There are spots here and there in his record that will have to be vetted, most notably the Trans-Texas Corridor. He is not a perfect candidate, but such a candidate does not exist and never has. But Perry is one of the few potential candidates with both the skill and record to build a credible national effort quickly, and turn the national political landscape around in his favor. If he were to run, Rick Perry would be a very strong candidate.”

“Let me throw a name at you out there, and this person’s toying with getting in the race. And there are some Republicans who are trying to convince this person to get in the race, and there is a lot of excitement attached to the possibility that this person will get in the race. Well, who do you think I’m talking about? You have a look on your face in there as though you know who I’m talking about. Texas Governor Rick Perry. Texas Governor Rick Perry is lurking out there, and he has the potential to light this up

“Now, Rick Perry used to be soft on immigration, now he’s not. There’s no way you’re gonna hear Rick Perry supporting amnesty in any way, shape, manner, or form. He’s solid on that, plus pro-life. Rick Perry stands in opposition to inside the Beltway Washington elites, I don’t care what party they are. And he’s got great hair. Folks, we gotta put a picture of Rick Perry up on our website, if you haven’t seen him. It’s axiomatic, you are not going to be elected president unless you’ve got at least a ten inch part in your hair, preferably 14-inch. You can’t be bald. It’s the same thing with television anchors. You’re never going to be a prime network news anchor unless you have a 14-inch part in your hair. Well, in the television age there are just certain realities that you can’t get around.

“But, I’ll tell you, liberals are gonna react to any Republican that’s… don’t make me say this again. Look, I’m gonna get in enough trouble with these Republicans. Snerdley wants to know how the liberals are gonna react with another Texas governor. They’re gonna go nuts. So what? Let ’em. When are they ever not nuts? Look, Rick Perry is a strong fiscal conservative. There are people in Texas that wanted a state income tax. He fought it. Rick Perry’s the guy that tracked these Democrats that left the state down. Remember they ran out, just like the Wisconsin Democrats did. No, I’m not endorsing anybody. I’m just telling you he’s lurking out there. It’s why I’ve always tried to caution people, it’s way too early here to start throwing in the towel or thinking all’s lost regarding the presidential field. There’s other people that might decide to get in this thing, too. You never know.”

“The Proverb says ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish…’ Never before has this been more true than today. Our great nation deserves and the world needs America to be strong and stable. We must be a people who are confident that we are secure at home and respected abroad. The power to ensure the security of our homeland and the strength of our military to secure our strategic national interests is contingent upon our maintaining a robust and growing national economy.

“There is no security without economic security. There can be no military power without economic power and there is little question that the challenges that confront our nation are only escalating. The out of control growth of government spending, entitlements, unfunded pension liabilities and historic national debt have compromised our nation’s future and have eroded our stature and influence in the world.

“That is why I am declaring the formation of the Committee to Draft Texas Governor Rick Perry for President of the United States. As a member of the California State Assembly I recently led a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers visited Austin a few weeks ago to learn why Texas was creating jobs while the Golden State was struggling.”