AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry holds a 12-point lead over probable challenger Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in next year's Republican primary, though more than one-third of likely voters are still undecided or would choose someone else, according to a poll conducted last month by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.
The statewide poll, coordinated by members of the Department of Government and the Texas Politics Project, also found that Perry and President Barack Obama have nearly identical statewide approval ratings--42 and 43 percent, respectively. Obama's disapproval ratings (46 percent), however, are much higher than Perry's (32 percent).
"The much anticipated match-up between Gov. Perry and Sen. Hutchison is proving to be a close one. While the governor has pulled ahead in this and other recent polls, the race is still apparently very close, and a lot of people have yet to make up their minds," said Texas Politics Project Director James Henson, who oversees the poll with Government Professor Daron Shaw.
"Both President Obama and Gov. Perry have comparably favorable approval ratings, though for quite disparate reasons," said Shaw. "Obama appears to still be in something of a honeymoon phase, with little backlash for spending policies that don't appeal to many Texans. In contrast, Perry is riding relatively high after a series of media events in which he took a hard-line stance against expansive federal government."
The poll's other findings include:
In the GOP governor's race, Perry has the support of 38 percent of voters who say they plan to vote in the primary with Hutchison drawing 26 percent support. Thirty-four percent are undecided or say they support someone else. Perry also leads Hutchison by 11 points among all registered voters. The results for the gubernatorial primaries have a margin of error of 5.14 percent for all primary voters and 5.24 percent for registered primary voters. The overall results have a margin of error of 3.22 percent.
"Each side can find some solace in the fact that neither claims more than a third of the electorate at this moment," Shaw said
The poll surveyed 924 Texans online from June 11-22. The complete results are online.