Public Policy Polling: White, Perry tied at 43% (Updated)
Tue June 22, 2010 11:01 am

Here is the writeup by PPP:

One of the biggest questions about the 2010 election cycle, which we still don't really know the answer to, is whether it will be solely an anti-Democratic year or more broadly an anti-incumbent year. Our newest Texas poll would seem to suggest voter fatigue toward long serving politicians in both parties- Republican Governor Rick Perry is now tied at 43 with Democratic challenger Bill White.

Texas would seem an unlikely candidate to provide Democrats their biggest win of the election cycle but the Governor's race there is a reminder that candidates matter. Perry is an unusually weak incumbent, while White is an unusually strong challenger. Only 36% of voters in the state like the job Perry is doing while 49% disapprove. Among independents the numbers are particularly bad- just 27% give Perry good marks to 55% who think he's doing a poor job. White meanwhile is better known and better liked than most challengers running across the country this year. 37% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 25% with an unfavorable one and he posts positive numbers with independents at a 35/24 spread.

In almost every race in the country right now Republican voters are more unified around their candidates than Democrats are and independents are leaning toward the GOP. Texas is running against the national grain on both of those counts- White is winning 15% of Republicans while Perry gets just 10% of Democrats and White also has a 42-36 advantage with independent voters.

Things look promising for White but Texas is still a conservative state where Barack Obama is exceedingly unpopular and that could end up proving to be too much for him to overcome. It may end up that White is the right candidate just running in the wrong cycle. But for now this looks like a surprisingly strong opportunity for Democrats and a race that could certainly end up as one of the most closely watched in the country.

* * * *

The key numbers here are the Perry job disapproval rates. A couple of days ago, I noted Perry's "strong disapproval" rate in the latest Rasmussen poll. PPP's numbers are much worse for Perry. Rasmussen made the point that strong approval and disapproval are more important at this stage of a campaign than the overall numbers. But 49% is off the charts bad for Perry. Is it believable? My answer would be "somewhat." Perry has never gotten a lot of respect. He is a polarizing figure. The only real hope White has in this race is that the electorate will come down with a bad case of Perry fatigue.

In the previous PPP poll, Perry led White by 48-42. PPP attributes the turnaround to a shift by indepents to White. In the earlier poll, independents supported Perry 47-36. In this poll, they support White 42-36.

Do I think that the race is tied? Absolutely not. Do I think that Perry fatigue could be real? Absolutely. But this is going to be a long and bitter campaign, and until we get to the air war, what happens now doesn't mean very much.

Now I have to go finish my handgun permit class.

The survey was conducted June 19-21 with a MOE of +/- 4.2%.

* * * *

Here is some more information about the PPP poll:

Ideological identification
Conservative 46%
Moderate 41%
Liberal 13%

Party identification
Democrat 37%
Republican 43%
Independent 20%

Perry Job Approval:
Perry: 36% approve, 49% disapprove

White Favorability:
37% favorable
25% unfavorable
39% not sure

Link to poll and crosstabs: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Release_TX_622.pdf

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