Perry’s twelve-point lead is the same as his advantage in last month’s Texas Lyceum poll, which was conducted by the same pollsters – Perry 33, Hutchison 21. Both that poll and this one showed that a large number of voters were undecided or preferred someone else. The Democratic primary results, which show Kinky Friedman ahead of Tom Schieffer, are irrelevant until the field grows.
Perry 42% favorable, 32% unfavorable
Obama 43% favorable, 46% unfavorable
The Lyceum poll had Obama’s favorability rating in the state as a hard-to-believe 68%, and Perry’s favorable/unfavorable was 57/30. In both cases, the new poll’s figures seem a lot closer to reality.
Senate Race (likely to occur in May 2010)
–Accept unemployment insurance stimulus funds 36% yes, 43% no (not a ringing endorsement of Perry’s refusal)
–Voter ID 70% yes, 17% no
–Gambling 40% favor full casino gambling, 20% favor a limited expansion
–Statewide smoking ban 63% favor, 31% oppose
* * * *
I find Perry’s lead to be quite believable. Hutchison is running the worst campaign imaginable. She has essentially abandoned the field to Perry. She has been invisible. Perry gave her a softball by fighting for the extension of privatized toll road agreements in the special session – a heaven-sent opportunity – and she just watched it go by. I think her team is not first-rate talent, and I think they are letting her do what she wants to do instead of telling her what she needs to do. Part of Perry’s lead is due to his ability to exploit Republican voters’ anger at the federal government, but part of it is due to Hutchison’s complete absence from the fray. What we have seen is voters defecting from being for Hutchison to being undecided. Hutchison has a long way to go before she is an effective candidate. I keep hearing stories like the one out of the Dallas area, where legislators who attended a meet and greet with Hutchison were appalled at her lack of knowledge of state issues.
It’s eight months until the election, but she has wasted the last eight months (except for fundraising), and she still doesn’t have anything that resembles a message. The one thing in her favor is the same thing that has always been in her favor: She remains very popular. Look at Perry’s favorable/unfavorable: 42-32. That’s plus 10. Hutchison’s in the Lyceum poll was 65-17. That’s plus 48. If she is going to beat Perry, those are the numbers that will decide the race.