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Perry’s (lack of) popularity

I have four things to say about this.

Gov. Rick Perry’s ill-fated presidential campaign left a sour taste with many Texans and damaged his standing with Republican voters, according to a new poll commissioned by the American-Statesman and other state newspapers.

Almost 1 in 3 Texas Republicans said Perry’s performance on the national stage dimmed their view of the governor, and 40 percent said he should not seek re-election in 2014, the survey found.

Across party lines, many blamed Perry’s fast-starting, fast-collapsing campaign — punctuated by misstatements and debate gaffes that became fodder for late-night comedians — for tarnishing the state’s image nationally.

“He clearly hurt himself with this run,” pollster Mickey Blum said. “He didn’t do himself any favors at home.”

The phone survey of 806 Texans, conducted from Saturday to Tuesday, found only 40 percent approved of Perry’s performance as governor — down 10 points from last year, and Perry’s lowest approval rating in 10 years of polling.

The drop left Perry with a lower approval rating than President Barack Obama’s 43 percent — in a state Obama lost by 11 percentage points in 2008 — though Perry did have a slim lead among registered voters, with 42 percent to Obama’s 41.

Perry’s failed presidential bid was at the heart of the decline, with 37 percent of Texas adults viewing the governor less favorably because of the campaign and 53 percent saying he should not seek another term, Blum said.

My thoughts:

- Though this story refers to some demographic subgroups within the sample, I have not been able to find crosstabs for the poll. This is the best I’ve found, which isn’t enough. I’d love to know what the partisan and ethnic/racial/gender breakdown of the numbers are, and how the registered voters voted (if they voted) in 2008 and 2010, but alas, I can’t tell. A question about how people would vote in 2012, including a hypothetical matchup between Perry and Obama like what PPP gave us, would have been nice, too. Oh, well. But let’s be honest, all that really matters, at least to him, is how Republican primary voters feel about him, and so far they still like him. He just doesn’t care about the rest.

- Perry’s popularity level doesn’t really matter right now. He’s not on the ballot and the Lege isn’t in session. There’s plenty of time for people to be distracted by other shiny objects before the next Lege is sworn in. If he’s still in the dumps in 2013, then we may have something. Anyone who is saying now what effect this will have in a year is pulling it from his or her nether regions.

- Even if Perry’s popularity levels are still low in 2013, I’ll believe that the Republicans in the Lege will be less deferential to him when I see it. It’s true that the Lege has thumbed its nose at Perry in the past, for a variety of reasons. It’s also true that they rolled over for him in 2011, and that they have never even tried to override a veto. It would be nice if the Lege asserted itself a bit against Perry, nicer still if they did so in the service of some piece of positive policy, but I for one don’t plan to hold my breath waiting for it.

- You still can’t beat something with nothing. Is Greg Abbott and his eleventy gazillion dollar campaign account going to primary him if Perry actually does run again? Will some other Republican try to move up if Abbott decides to stay put? Who will the Dems find to run against him? For all the carping some folks did about Bill White, he ran seven to ten points better than every other Dem on the ballot in 2010. If that race had been in 2008, White would be gearing up for re-election right now. Perry can be beaten in the general if he’s the nominee. Whether he can be taken in another GOP primary I couldn’t say. Until there’s a race between two people, who knows who can beat whom?

What do you think? The DMN, Texas on the Potomac, TM Daily Post, Jason Stanford, the Trib, and Burka have more.

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