PPP's newest Texas poll finds that John Cornyn is in grave danger of losing a primary next year if a serious campaign is run against him. Cornyn's approval with Republican primary voters is only 46%, with 33% of voters disapproving of him. And 49% say they would like their candidate next year to be someone more conservative, compared to only 33% who say they support Cornyn.
Ted Cruz's star in Texas Republican politics is making Cornyn's life a lot harder. 62% of GOP voters say they have a higher opinion of Cruz than they do of Cornyn, and among voters describing themselves as 'very conservative' Cruz is seen more favorably by a 78/8 margin. If someone challenges Cornyn and is able to effectively present themselves as another Cruz they'll have a very good chance in a Republican primary.
The good news for Cornyn is that he starts out with leads in head to head match ups with some of the names that have been bandied about the most as potential primary challengers. He leads David Barton (who announced he wasn't running this morning) 51/18 and Louie Gohmert 40/31 in hypothetical contests. Of course it's worth keeping in mind that's a function of name recognition to some extent, and in January of 2012 David Dewhurst had an 18 point lead over Ted Cruz.
We also just out of curiosity tested Rick Perry in a primary with Cornyn, and he would lead Cornyn 46/35. We find very little support for Perry for President in Texas or anywhere else for that matter, so if he wanted to continue on in elected office that might be his option for doing it.
The two Democrats would be more competitive if Gohmert was the Republican standard bearer- he leads Castro 44/35 and White just 40/39. But basically the conclusion there is that even if 1) Democrats got their best candidate possible and 2) Cornyn got taken out in the primary by someone voters saw as an extremist, it's still not a certainty Democrats would be able to make the race competitive.
It looks like all the intrigue in this race next year is going to come from the primary.
Full results here