Texas Governor Perry Enters Danger Zone

Rick Perry, 10-year incumbent Texas Governor, had some very troubling poll numbers out Wednesday in his bid for a third full term.

Rick Perry, 10-year incumbent Texas Governor, had some very troubling poll numbers out Wednesday in his bid for a third full term.

In a Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday, Gov. Perry remains 6 points ahead of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White (48 to 42 percent). In this year’s midterm elections, the logic that strong Republican turnout will carry Perry over the top prevails. But more voters disapprove of Perry’s performance as governor than approve (39 to 50 percent respectively). Forty-nine percent of those surveyed now favor two-term limits on governors. Most disturbingly for a conservative candidate vying to be elected to anything, male voters disapprove of the Governor’s job performance by 52 percent.

Meanwhile, Bill White has a 44/29 favorable rating, although almost 30 percent of respondents have no opinion. Only 50 percent of self-described conservatives view White unfavorably. Nevertheless, Dean Debnam, Public Policy Polling’s president says it will be difficult for White to overcome Texas’ lopsided number of registered republicans (not to mention the protest votes against Washington that will benefit Perry).

The poll of 538 likely voters was conducted September 2-6, 2010. It has a margin of error of +/-4.2 percent.

Two more polls have some bad numbers out for Perry, although they are slightly more dubious due to their having been commissioned by Democratic sources.

A progressive group called Texas Watch commissioned a survey from Hill Research Consultants, a Republican firm, to poll the Texas governor’s race. The poll of 600 registered voters was conducted August 25-29, 2010, with a margin of error of +/-4.0 percent. That poll showed Perry leading White by only a single point, (43 to42 percent respectively).

John Zogby’s firm, Zogby International, was commissioned by Democratic philanthropist Bernard Rapoport (listed on Campaigns & Elections Texas Influencers) to survey Texas voters and discovered similar results. Perry leads White with 44 to 41 percent of the vote . That poll surveyed 803 likely voters August 24-28, 2010 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

Both polls are screaming sirens in the night for Gov. Perry. Pundits may dismiss them as opposition-funded, often commissioned and released for fundraising purposes, but even PPP’s polls show lackluster, if not altogether terrifying, numbers for Perry.

While it is counter intuitive in the least to say that in the middle of the 2010 wave election, a Republican Governor of Texas may lose in the general election to a Democrat; these numbers suggest that it is not unthinkable.

Noah Rothman is the online editor at C&E. Email him at nrothman@campaignsandelections.com

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