The pre-legislative political season has been so heated that I overlooked SurveyUSA’s monthly tracking polls for December. Here are the job approval numbers for President Bush, Governor Rick Perry, and U.S. senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn in Texas. The poll of 600 adults has a margin of error of +/-4.1%.
Bush: approve 38%, disapprove 59%, not sure 3%
This is the lowest approval rating, and highest disapproval rating, Bush has received in SurveyUSA’s tracking polls in Texas. As recently as last May, Bush’s Texas numbers were 56% approval and 42% disapproval. This showing by a popular former governor is astonishing and supports recent poll data suggesting that Democrats have pulled even or slightly ahead of Republicans in voter self-identification (also astonishing). Bush still does well among white voters (50% favorable, 48% unfavorable), but the corresponding numbers for blacks (16/80) and Hispanics (22/73) are dreadful. The president’s best numbers are in East Texas (41% approve) and North Texas (38% approve) and worst in Harris County (35% approve) and West Texas (25% approve).
The West Texas rating doesn’t look right to me. Since the poll involves adults, rather than likely voters, it may be a reflection of the large Hispanic population in the region. Still, look at the Legislature. Except for El Paso and Pete Laney’s old district, won by Joe Heflin, there just aren’t any Democrats out there.
Perry: approve 41%, disapprove 53%, not sure 6%
His approval rating, which is two points higher than his election percentage, is unchanged from November; the disapproval rating improved from 56%. Perry’s most loyal constituency is rural voters, which comes as no surprise. His approval rating is lowest in North Texas (36%) and Harris County (40%) and highest in East Texas (45%) and West Texas (46%). There is virtually no difference in how he is viewed by whites, blacks, and Hispanics; the variation is from 40% to 41% favorable. Whites, once his greatest source of strength, now disapprove of him by 55%, while blacks and Hispanics both disapprove by 51%. Perry’s approval rating among Republicans is only 56% and among conservatives is only 53%; among moderates and liberals, the numbers sink to 34% favorable, 62% unfavorable.
Hutchison: 58% approve, 37% disapprove, 5% not sure
Cornyn: 47% approve, 39% disapprove, 14% not sure
Hutchison’s approval rating is slightly lower than her reelection performance of 61.69%. Cornyn appears to have righted the ship since October, when his 43% disapproval rating was higher than his 40% approval rating.