The results are hardly surprising. In a recent post, I raised the question of whether Perry could be reelected. I didn’t think so then, and I don’t think so now. And the talk from Ray Sullivan and the Perry team that he could run for president in 2016 is a fantasy. The problem for Perry is that the American people have made up their minds about him–and so have most Texans. His brand is ruined. Here are the key numbers from the newspapers’ poll:

Job approval (adults): 40% approve, 40% disapprove Job approval (registered) 42% approve, 43% disapprove Should he run again for governor (registered): 56% no More/less favorable view of him as a result of his presidential candidacy: 41% say less favorable Adversely affected Texas’s image: 25% “a little”, 23% “a lot” Support among Republicans: down from 73% to 60% Support among independents: down from 46% to 29%

These are disastrous numbers across the board. Perry is leaking support everywhere: Republicans, independents, and registered voters. The problem for Perry is that there is nowhere to hide. His “oopses” were so numerous, and so indelibly stamped onto the minds of those who saw them, that they will not be forgotten. Indeed, Perry can expect to see them again and again, every election year, into his old age, as pundits ruminate on the influence of debates and use the “oops” moment as their teaching lesson. This is the point of my article in the February issue, “Is There Life After Rick Perry?” The governor’s mistakes are going to reverberate into the 2013 legislative session. Yes, Perry is still the governor, but a leader’s power depends upon one thing–followers–and it is not clear whether Perry still has them, or at least enough of them to enable him to govern, much less win reelection. Whether he has done so much damage to himself that he has lost the moral authority to lead will be determined in the 83rd Legislature. The newspapers’ poll comes on top of a recent Public Policy Polling survey, whose numbers I wrote about last week. There has been brave talk from the Perry camp that he might run for relection in 2014, or that he might even run for president in 2016. This translates into, “Repeat after me: Rick Perry is not a lame duck, not a lame duck, not a …..” [quack, quack]