A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Texas voters finds Perry with 48% support. His Democratic opponent, former Houston Mayor Bill White, picks up 44% of the vote, his best showing to date. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and six percent (6%) remain undecided.
A month ago, just after beating back Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s GOP Primary challenge, Perry led White 49% to 43%.
That’s a nice result, but I wouldn’t make too much of a two point shift. It’s more likely float in the margin of error than anything else. Give me a bigger shift next month, or two more months of little moves like this, and then we can talk. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade, but it could easily be 49-43 next month without meaning anything much, too.
That said, it must be noted that Rasmussen has a sizable house effect, and it’s entirely possible that that is affecting the result here. Rasmussen is the only outfit polling this race, so we don’t have much basis for comparison right now. We did get a few other results just before the primary, and I thought it might be interesting to look at them now:
Rasmussen, January: Perry 50, White 40
Rasmussen, early February: Perry 48, White 39
UT/Texas Trib, mid February: Perry 44, White 35
Research 2000 (same link), mid February: Perry 46, White 42
Rasmussen, late February: Perry 47, White 41
Rasmussen, March: Perry 49, White 43
What this tells me is two things: One, Rasmussen has consistently shown a higher level of support for Perry than other pollsters. Some of that is surely due to their likely voter model, and some is surely due to their house effect. I’m not making any claims about their rightness or wrongness, I’m just pointing it out. And two, Rasmussen has shown a slow but steady uptick in White’s support since January. This is no doubt due to his consolidating Democratic and Dem-leaning independent support as he’s become better known. Perry’s numbers, on the other hand, have been flat. That’s not unexpected for a universally-known incumbent, but it suggests he may be at a ceiling. That ceiling is pretty close to 50%, however, and at least in Rasmussen’s world there are precious few undecided voters, so the path forward for each candidate is to take voters away from the other guy, which is another way of saying this will be a negative campaign. Which I’m sure you already knew.
Anyway. I expect we’ll start seeing more poll numbers after Labor Day, but hopefully there will be some non-Rasmussen results before then as well. BOR has more.