White and Perry Tied?

Public Policy Polling released shows the candidates tied at 43 percent; a 5 percent drop for Perry
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Public Policy Polling just released their first poll in four months. They show Gov. Rick Perry and challenger Bill White tied with 43 percent each. That means Perry has dropped from a six point lead since the last PPP poll came out four months ago. The telephone poll, which took place between June 19 and 21, surveyed 500 Texas voters and had a 4.4 percent margin of error.

A few observations:

Guv Mansion, not White House. The poll shows that 69 percent of Texans do not want to see Perry run for president, and that sentiment goes across party lines. In fact, 61 percent of Republicans explicitly do not want to see the governor make a bid for the Oval Office. The national press (not to mention Texas Monthly) has been harping on the idea of a Perry candidacy for months, and despite Perry’s persistent denials, some of his actions—like an unexpected trip to Israel—seem to say otherwise.

Trust me. This isn’t a Rasmussen poll. Rasmussen has been taking hits from all sides lately and its poll results have met with skepticism. PPP still has quite a bit of credibility in Texas, and this poll will be harder to dismiss. The infamously wonky polling site fivethirtyeight.com actually went through and ranked polling groups, and PPP ranks relatively well.

Loves me, Loves me not. Perry and White now have equal approval/favorability ratings, 36 and 37 percent respectively, but Perry has almost 50 percent disapproval while only 25 percent of those polled marked “unfavorable” against White. While White is still struggling with the “don’t know” response, likely because it’s early yet, it seems going negative may be working. His campaign has certainly picked up steam in the last few weeks as they’ve taken on the Perry folks.

The DC guys were right? Back in March, a host of Washington pundits—The Cook Report most notably—called the race a toss up or “lean right” (as opposed to “likely right.”) Many dismissed the claims. Apparently they were at least right about the electorate in June—if not November.

It’s gonna be a party. The Democrats have struggled with an enthusiasm gap. Their convention is only a couple days away, and the poll results offer them a chance to energize a base that desperately needs a few extra batteries. A likely message at this week’s state convention: “Maybe we can, possibly, potentially, win after all.”