You could make a pretty strong argument that Texas is the heart of the Republican Party and the top choice of GOP voters there for the 2012 Presidential nomination is Newt Gingrich. It's becoming more and more clear that Gingrich will be a very legitimate contender if he does indeed make a bid for the White House in two years.
Gingrich is at 23%, with Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin tied at 19% and Mitt Romney at 17%. His particular strength is with Republican men. He has 29% with them, putting him fully 11 points ahead of Huckabee and Romney with that demographic. That's a trend we're seeing in our polling nationally as well- our August survey found Gingrich at 28% with men but only 14% with women, a much larger gender gap in his support than any of the other candidates showed.
Many have assumed that Palin will be the candidate of choice for conservatives if she launches a White House bid but Gingrich beats her out on that front 24-21 with voters in Texas.
The other interesting thing on the 2012 GOP numbers in Texas is that Ron Paul is not getting much support in his home state- only 8%. Paul does not have a serious chance at the Republican nomination and if he wants to get a serious airing for his views in 2012 it's probably going to have to come as an independent candidate in the general election.
Full results here