Rick Perry's Presidential campaign is doing about as bad in Texas now as it is everywhere else in the country. When PPP last polled the state in September he was at 49%, leading Mitt Romney by 39 points. Now Perry's support has declined by 31 points, leaving him in 3rd place at 18%. Mitt Romney at 24% and Newt Gingrich at 23% lead the way with Rick Santorum at 15%, Ron Paul at 12%, and Buddy Roemer at 0% rounding out the field behind Perry.
What might be most shocking on this poll is that Romney edges Perry 46-45 if Republican voters had to pick just between the two of them. When we asked that identical question four months ago Perry led Romney 72-18. There's been a 55 point shift in Romney's direction.
It's not just that Texas Republicans are no longer planning to vote for Perry- a lot of them even feel that Perry's candidacy has hurt Texas' image. 39% of GOP voters think his candidacy has been a negative for perceptions of the state, while only 13% believe it's been a positive. By comparison just 28% of primary voters believe Ron Paul's campaign has been bad for the state's image to 19% who believe it's been a positive.
Beyond being bad news for Perry these numbers show the extent to which Republicans are starting to unify around Romney. He's consistently fared pretty poorly in our Texas polling but he's gained 14 points of support over the last four months to take this modest lead. If he's ahead in Texas he's probably ahead just about everywhere.
Since our previous poll Dewhurst's support has declined from 41% to 36%, while Cruz's has increased from 12% to 18%. Dewhurst continues to have far superior name recognition, with 60% of voters familiar with him to only 29% who have an opinion about Cruz. Here's a finding that signals the potential of this race to get very interesting though: among those 29% familiar with Cruz, whether they like him or not, he leads Dewhurst 34-31. That speaks well to his ability to make things competitive once he becomes better known and really starts spending money.
The biggest news in the Texas Senate race over the last couple months has been Craig James' entry, but it looks like he has a long way to go. Only 30% of voters have heard of him and those who have don't like him, with only 11% rating him positively to 19% with a negative opinion. While Cruz rises from 18% to 34% among voters familiar with him, James goes only from 4% to 7%...for him being well known is not necessarily an asset.
Just for fun we broke this poll down by college allegiance. James' favorability is an extra poor -12 spread with Texas Tech fans at 14/26. But he's not all that beloved by partisans of his alma mater, Southern Methodist, either. With them he comes in at -6 (23/29).
Full results here