Lots of talk around Texas today about the latest Lyceum poll — in fact, I just did a quick hit with KTRH radio in Houston about it — that shows a mixed picture for Gov. Rick Perry. His job approval rating remains strong as he gets close to seeing the end of the legislature’s special session:
Day three of the Texas Lyceum’s three-day rollout of poll results showed 54 percent of 310 likely voters surveyed approve of Perry’s performance as governor, unchanged from last year (5.6-point margin of error). One in three voters, however, strongly disapproved of his actions as governor.
But so far, that doesn’t quite translate into supporting a Perry run for president.
Only 9 percent of likely Republican voters said they would favor Perry in a presidential race, with the most support going to Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, according to an independent poll released Thursday.
Romney, favored by 16 percent in the annual Texas Lyceum poll, is the presumptive national front-runner for the Republican nomination, while Palin (14 percent) and Perry have not announced their intention to run.
I think that last part is key to understanding the poll. Though Palin hasn’t announced a run, she has been all-but-announced for about two years, and she was on the ticket in 2008. There is a strong awareness out there of her as a candidate (likewise Romney). Perry, meanwhile, has insisted during that same period that he would not run. Most Texans, myself included, took that at face value. Only the possibility that he could put his 2010 campaign team back together, raised by he implosion of Newt Gingrich’s campaign a week ago, has revived the possibility that Perry could run. If he were to actually declare for the presidency, that 9% number would shoot up quickly.