Perry 42, Hutchison 38: It sounds in-the-ballpark to me. Perry has had a very good month. Events aligned with his conservative message, and he took full advantage of the opportunity. Perry is a phenomenal campaigner with a sure sense of his constituency that rarely deserts him (the Trans-Texas Corridor and the HPV executive order being the notable exceptions). He wiped out her early lead with nothing but earned media. Didn’t spend a dime except for a few bucks on travel.
The numbers that stand out to be are that Perry has a 15 point lead among conservative voters and Hutchison has a 35 point lead among moderate voters. That speaks volumes about the Republican electorate. If Hutchison has a 35 point lead among moderates, and the race is more or less a dead heat, just think about how many conservative voters it took to overcome her advantage. Primary voters must be around two to one conservative.
The Perry strategy in his previous challenges by Hutchison has always been to drive her out of the race. This time is no different. The first challenge for the Hutchison campaign is to deal with the psychological blow of the poll. The second challenge is to find a message. Right now she doesn’t have one.
The fundamentals of the race, however, remain the same. (1) She has to make it to the starting gate. (2) She has to grow the primary vote so that the November Republicans can overcome his lead among the March Republicans.