A new poll from Public Policy Polling, a well known firm that is aligned with the Democratic party nationally, calls into question Perry’s standing with Texas Republican voters: In a PPP poll taken in September, the month in which Perry announced his candidacy for president, Perry led Romney by 49% to 10%. Here are the current numbers, according to PPP: Romney 24% Gingrich 23% Perry 18% Santorum 15% Ron Paul 12% * * * * Is Perry’s presidential candidacy positive or negative for Texas’s image among Republican voters? Positive 13% Negative 39% Perry vs. Romney, Texas presidential primary Perry 46% Romney 45% (Previous poll: Perry 72%, Romney 18%) Santorum is the only candidate who defeats Romney in Texas (45%-42%) * * * * These are terrible numbers for Perry. He faces the potential embarrassment of losing the Texas presidential primary to Romney and perhaps not even finishing second. He will have to evaluate whether he is a viable candidate for reelection. I think the answer is no. He is damaged goods, and the more he prolongs the fiction that he belongs on the debate stage with the other Republican aspirants, the more damaged he will be. Perry’s presidential campaign has left him vulnerable to defeat should he choose to seek a fourth term as governor in 2014. Republicans have to worry that he might even lose to a Democrat (Paul Hobby comes to mind, or John Sharp.) The numbers indicate that his stature in Texas has seriously eroded to the point that, if he decides to run for reelection, he cannot be sure of victory. Donors who contributed to his presidential race may think twice before throwing good money after bad. The long-term significance of these numbers is that Perry’s poor performance on the campaign trail has destabilized Texas politics. Politicians understand the meaning of these numbers. It means that the aura of invinicibility that has surrounded Perry during the past ten years is gone. It means that the fear Perry has been able to generate has greatly diminished, if not altogether evaporated. It means that if Perry does run for reelection in 2014 and is victorious, he will face serious pushback from veteran legislators. Perry’s term as governor expires in January, 2015. He can continue in office until then, but the end of the long Perry governorship is in sight.
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