For your reading pleasure, a poll of Republican primary voters (PDF) by Rick Perry’s pollster Mike Baselice that shows a 45-39 lead by Kay Bailey Hutchison. You can read a poll memo to supporters that spins the results, but the points I’ll make are as follows.
1. The basic result feels about right to me. I think KBH is a favorite, but never underestimate Rick Perry in a nasty political campaign. As I’ve observed before, Perry has had all the initiative in this fight so far. I keep waiting for KBH to show up and try to set the terms of the debate on turf more favorable to her. I’m sure she has a strategy that goes beyond simply being herself, but I couldn’t tell you what it is. Perry’s strategy may not be one that will appeal to all that many people, but at least he has an identifiable plan.
2. Having said that, isn’t it a bit odd for a two-term incumbent to tout a poll that shows him trailing? The basic message here is “We’re not losing by as much as y’all think we are.” Seems like a strange thing to brag about.
3. I’m fascinated by the lopsided amount of blame being put on “Washington Republicans” as opposed to “Texas Republicans” for the GOP being on the wrong track. One wonders who they mean by that – John Boehner? Mitch McConnell? Michael Steele? George W. Bush? I’d argue that almost all of their problems can be laid at the feet of the latter, but given the amount of fealty he still commands from the rump of the party, it’s hard to imagine that’s who they mean. And will they feel that way about Big John “Chair of the NRSC” Cornyn in the event the Senate GOP caucus gets reduced again in 2010?
4. I continue to wonder what a poll that also included Debra Medina and Leo Berman might look like. I doubt they’d grab more than a few points, but in a close race that could matter, and I don’t really know who’d give up more of their share to them. I’ll be very interested to see the June finance reports to see if either of them has raised any real money.
5. What do you suppose KBH’s pollster’s numbers look like? Perhaps they’ll feel compelled to leak their own results so we can compare. Here’s a non-poll response from him, for what it’s worth.
Perry leads by 15 percentage points among conservative voters but Hutchison leads by 35 points among the moderates.
Which should give you some idea of the ratio of “conservatives” to “moderates” in the sample. Good luck courting the base, Kay.