The SurveyUSA tracking poll for June reflects an abrupt turnaround in the fortunes of Rick Perry. The governor’s approval/disapproval rating soared from 41/54 to 49/46. Is this just a statistical anomaly? Perhaps not. In the closing days of the legislative session, Perry was very active, vetoing the first transportation bill and threatening to veto the higher education budget. One can also speculate that the public saw Perry as above the wild scene that was taking place in the Legislature. If Perry is able to lock in this level of support, he will be better placed to pursue whatever national ambitions he might have in 2008 and beyond.

While Perry was rising, President Bush and Texas’s two U.S. senators were suffering declines:

Bush’s approval/disapproval stood at 41/57, compared to 42/56 in May.
Kay Bailey Hutchison fell to 58/34, compared to 63/31 in April.
John Cornyn dropped into negative territory, 42-43, compared to 47/39 in March.

Cornyn’s showing is sure to increase the perception that he is vulnerable in 2008. His numbers among Hispanics declined from 42/47 in March to 39/51. His visibility on the immigration issue could well account for this shift. However, the sample size on these breakouts is small and I don’t put too much stock in them.

SurveyUSA’s methodology is controversial in political circles. It is an automated poll that uses professional announcers to read recorded questions that respondents reply to by pressing numbers on their telephone. Traditional polling organizations are critical of automated polls like SurveyUSA and Rasmussen, but their performance in the 2004 elections was regarded by some analysts to be superior to that of the traditional polls.