According to a new statewide poll, Sarah Palin leads all of her potential rivals as the top choice for the GOP presidential nomination in the Lone Star State. The survey, which was conducted by The University of Texas and the Texas Tribune the week of May the 11th, was taken just before former governors Mike Huckabee and Mitch Daniels, along with real estate Mogul Donald Trump, removed themselves from contention. The poll also preceded missteps by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and businessman Herman Cain, as both stumbled coming out of the starting gate.
Results of the survey show that Gov. Palin led the field at 12 percent, followed closely by Gingrich at 11 percent, and Huckabee with 10 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota were in a tie for fourth place at 7 percent each, followed Donald Trump at 6 percent; Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty with 4 percent; former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 3 percent. Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah were at the back of the pack, tied at 1 percent apiece.
The poll also found that Texas is still a “red” state, with only 30 percent of all registered voters saying that they would cast ballots to re-elect President Obama, while 48 percent would vote for the Republican candidate in the presidential race. Obama remains unpopular in Texas, as his job approval rating is only 35 percent, while a majority — 55 percent — disapprove of the job he’s doing. Of the latter group, 46 percent strongly disapprove of his job performance. Gov. Rick Perry’s job approval rating is balanced, with 41 percent giving him positive marks and 42 percent are negative about his performance. The Texas Legislature fares somewhat worse than the governor, with 35 percent approval and 38 disapproval.
According to the survey, true independents are not a very large demographic in Texas, as most registered voters associate themselves with one of the two major political parties. But when it come to the contest for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Kay Bailey Hutchison, many voters, including half of Texas’ Republicans and a solid majority of Democrats, are still undecided.
Most Texas voters see both the state and the nation as being on the wrong track. A significant percentage of Texans say they are economically worse off than they were a year ago. Lone Star State voters are evenly divided about the state of the economy, with 48 percent saying Texas’ economy has worsened and 49 percent saying the same about the national economy.
This latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll is an internet survey of 800 registered voters, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.46 percent. The Republican primary questions have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.98 percent.