PPP's new Texas poll finds that Wendy Davis made a good impression on voters in the state last week- but that Rick Perry has also enhanced his political standing considerably over the last five months, making him tough to beat for reelection.
39% of Texans have a favorable opinion of Davis to 29% with a negative one after her week in the spotlight. Her net favorability is up 14 points from -4 at 15/19 in January. By a 45/40 margin voters say they support her filibuster last week, and by a narrow 44/43 margin they don't think Perry should call another special session. Voters oppose Senate Bill 5 by an 8 point margin, 28/20, although the 52% with no opinion is a reality check on how closely most people follow state politics.
Nevertheless Davis would trail Rick Perry by 14 points in a hypothetical match up, 53/39. While Davis' standing has improved over the last five months so has Perry's. Although he remains unpopular, with 45% of voters approving of him to 50% who disapprove, his approval is up a net 8 points from January when he was at a -13 spread (41/54). In addition to his lead over Davis, Perry also leads Julian Castro 50/43, Bill White 50/40, and Annise Parker 52/35. In January he led this quartet of Democrats by an average of 4 points, now he leads them by an average of 12.
The main reason for Perry's improved numbers is enhanced standing with the Republican base, and that's playing out in his primary election numbers too. In January Perry's approval with GOP voters was 68/26, but that's up to 81/16 now. Perry now leads Greg Abbott 46/34 in a hypothetical primary election, up from 41/38 in January.
Abbott still does better than Perry in match ups against all of the Democrats except for Davis. He only leads her 48/40, compared to Perry's 14 point lead. But against Castro (48/34), White (48/36), and Parker (50/31) Abbott's leads exceed Perry's.
The other big player from last Tuesday night, David Dewhurst, is not a very popular figure in Texas with only 22% of voters rating him favorably to 40% with a negative opinion. Nevertheless he still leads in a primary contest for reelection, albeit at a weak 37% to 17% for Dan Patrick, 7% for Jerry Patterson, and 5% for Todd Staples.
Texas may trend Democratic eventually but for now this little factoid sums up the state pretty well- Wendy Davis has a +10 favorability, Rick Perry has a -5 approval, and he still leads her by 14 anyway. It continues to be an uphill battle for Democrats there.
Full results here