Rick Perry had fallen so far by the end of his Presidential campaign that it's not even clear he could have defeated Barack Obama in Texas. Our poll of the state last weekend found Perry leading Obama just 48-47, including a 51-44 deficit with independents. Perry had led Obama by 7 points on a September poll there.
Perry will come home to only a 42% approval rating, with 51% of voters disapproving of him. He's fallen from 78% to 67% favor with Republicans over the last four months, and independents split against him 35/59. By comparison Obama's approval rating in Texas is 44%, although his disapproval is also higher than Perry's at 54%.
Our Texas Presidential poll is another reminder that a Gingrich surge would be very good news for President Obama. Obama actually holds a slight edge over him, 47-45. Only 33% of Texans have a favorable opinion of Gingrich to 53% with a negative one.
The GOP would start out ahead with any of its other potential nominees: Romney and Santorum lead Obama by identical 7 point margins at 49-42, and Paul has a 6 point advantage at 46-40. Democrats' dream of turning Texas to the blue column doesn't seem likely to come true this year unless they get the gift of running against Gingrich.
We also tested a three way contest involving Obama and Romney with Paul running as an independent candidate. In that scenario Romney leads Obama just 40-38, with Paul getting 17%. Although a Paul third party bid seems highly unlikely it's interesting to note that he actually wins the independent vote with 32% to 30% for Obama and 27% for Romney. That really shows the extent to which voters unhappy with both parties this year are at least open to considering an independent candidate.
Full results here