Republican voters in Texas are really warming up to Rick Perry's Presidential bid and he now leads the field with 49% there to 10% for Mitt Romney, 8% for Newt Gingrich, 7% each for Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain, 3% for Rick Santorum, 2% for Jon Huntsman, and 0% for Gary Johnson.
The strong support for Perry is a new development. In January when PPP first included him as a potential Presidential candidate in Texas he polled at only 9%, putting him in 6th place well behind Mike Huckabee's leading 24% at that time. By June Perry had taken the lead in the state but he was still at only 31% support. He's continued to build on that over the last few months and is now just as strong in Texas as Romney is in Massachusetts.
There's been a lot of furor recently over Texas' HPV vaccination law. It's very unpopular with Republican primary voters- only 19% support it compared to 60% who are opposed. But there's no indication that the controversy is really hurting Perry's support that much- with voters opposed to the law he still leads the field with 43% to 10% for Romney and only 9% for Bachmann, who has made the biggest to do about it. He is stronger with those who support it- polling at 57% to Romney's 10%, but either way it's not hurting him too much on the home front. And it's certainly not doing Bachmann any favors- her favorability with Texas Republicans is 38/46 after registering at 51/27 on our June poll.
Perry's drawn a lot of attention for his skepticism about global warming and evolution and his belief that Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme but none of that's going to cause him any problems with Republican voters on the home front. Only 20% there believe in global warming to 64% who don't. Just 32% believe in evolution with 53% dissenting. And 46% agree with Perry's comments on Social Security to 35% who dissent.
Some other notes on the Texas numbers:
-Other than Perry the only GOP contender with positive favorability numbers in the state is Gingrich at 50/36. Gingrich certainly doesn't seem to have any shot at the nomination but his support has been more steady than a lot of the other hopefuls.
-Paul's favorability with Texas Republicans is 35/49. We also released Massachusetts numbers today and his favorability with primary voters there is 27/50. Paul certainly has a passionate core of support but beyond them he's not even popular with GOP voters.
David Dewhurst remains the strong early favorite in the Republican Senate primary with 41% to 12% for Ted Cruz, 7% for Elizabeth Ames Jones, and 6% for Tom Leppert with 34% of voters remaining undecided. There's no indication of any trouble at least at this point for Dewhurst with folks on the right- his 45% support level with voters identifying as 'very conservative' is higher than with any other ideological group.
The nomination contest is hardly over though- much of Dewhurst's early lead is built on name recogntion. 58% of primary voters are familiar with him compared to 26% for Leppert and 22% for Cruz. With the voters who are familiar with Cruz- whether they have a positive opinion or a negative one- Dewhurst's lead is only 44-29. That bodes well for Cruz's support building as he becomes better known.
Full results here