PPP Polls Texas and makes a splash with one very interesting datapoint.
Obama vs Perry ...... 47-45 Palin ...... 46-44 Bachmann ... 44-47 Cain ....... 43-43 Pawlenty ... 43-44 Romney ..... 42-50 Paul ....... 40-45 2008 Vote .. 41-52
Needless to say, rightwing bloggers are in a tizzy over this and there’s not much better spectator sport than that during this time of year. Helps that the Astros are awful, too, I suppose.
If there were to be a more reasoned caveat to interject here, I think it would be that the poll is conducted at a time of the year when Rick Perry is not quite at “Peak Perry” in his own backyard. The special session has just wound down and the very important priorities of Rick Perry have been dealt with. Who knew that Texans would have a visceral reaction to the prioritization of killing feral hogs from a helicopter over adequately funding public education?
Needless to say, I’d peg this poll as the most opportune timing that you’ll see for Obama in the state, short of Perry DMing crotch shots of himself to porn stars. The job approval numbers are the most telling:
Obama Job Approval ... 42-55 Perry Job Approval ... 43-52
In the most relevant previous poll, the Texas Lyceum poll, Perry had a 54-44 net approval, while Obama had a 51-48 net approval in the midst of his OBL bounce. In that poll, the only 2012 General Election question was whether respondents would vote for Obama vs “the Republican candidate.” And that clocked in at 35 Obama/44 GOP, with 17% undecided.
PPP pushes respondents into more of a binary choice, with significantly fewer undecideds. That suggests to me that there’s a level of squishiness in the support of all candidates. One aspect of the poll that you simply will not see a single rightwing blogger address, however, is the fact that the Lyceum poll even demonstrated the native weakness of Rick Perry in the GOP Presidential Primary, losing to Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Ron Paul. He barely edged out Herm Cain in that poll. Those aren’t exactly numbers that scream out “Favorite Son.”
Remember, Rick Perry has not run statewide in Presidential years and he has also demonstrated significant weakness compared to other statewide Republicans in years when he has run. 2012 is a very different environment for Rick Perry, even in Texas. I’d expect the Texas numbers to improve for him as we get further removed from the legislative sessions, but I also think it’s a far cry to expect Perry to carry the state with 60%, ala George Bush.
The 2008 McCain/Obama numbers still strike me as a close expectation of what to see in 2012. If Team Obama actually does drop some paid field resources into the state, I think he can improve on those numbers. And if he doesn’t, I think there’s a point or two south that the numbers can get for him. Whether or not he should, I believe, isn’t a function of whether the needle can move closer to a victory for Obama in Texas … it’s whether the campaign believes it can devote the resources to being competitive in a state with 20 media markets at the expense of other competitive states that can be put in play with far less funds.
Kuff has a bit more on the PPP showing.