If the Republican primary were held today, Rick Perry's tenure as Governor of Texas would be coming to an end, the newest survey from Public Policy Polling finds.
Perry trails Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison 56-31 among likely GOP primary voters.
Hutchison is viewed favorably by 75% of voters likely to vote in the Republican primary, while 60% have a positive opinion of Perry.
The 27% of primary voters who have an unfavorable opinion of Perry are obviously a problem for him. Hutchison leads 85-8 with those voters. But perhaps the even bigger problem for him is the Senator's sheer popularity. 47% of those surveyed have a positive opinion of both Perry and Hutchison, and among those voters she has the 49-33 lead. So while Perry still is viewed positively by a majority of likely primary voters, the simply reality is that they like Hutchison more. He's going to have to change that for any chance at political survival, and that's why this race is already and will continue to be quite a nasty one.
Another problem for Perry is that Hutchison leads with every subgroup of the population PPP tracks by gender, race, and age. There is a slight gender gap with Hutchison leading by 28 among women and 22 with men but it's still a substantial lead either way.
Perry is going to have an uphill climb to keep his seat.
This is the first of three Texas releases PPP will have this week. Wednesday's will look at how some possible Hutchison replacements stack up, and Thursday's will look at Barack Obama's approval rating and how Tom Schieffer matches up against both Perry and Hutchison.
PPP was the most accurate pollster in the Texas Republican primary for President last year.
Full results here.