Friday, January 21, 2011

Obama with a chance in Texas..but only against Palin

2012 could be the year Democrats are finally competitive for President in Texas...but only if the Republicans nominate Sarah Palin.

There are vast differences in how the various different potential GOP contenders fare against Barack Obama in Texas. Mike Huckabee is very popular in the state and would defeat Obama by 16 points, a more lopsided victory than John McCain had there in 2008. Mitt Romney is also pretty well liked and has a 7 point advantage over the President in an early hypothetical contest, a closer margin than the state had last time around but still a pretty healthy lead. A plurality of voters have an unfavorable opinion of Newt Gingrich but he would lead Obama by a 5 point margin nonetheless. It's a whole different story with Palin though. A majority of Texas voters have an unfavorable opinion of her and she leads the President by just a single point in a hypothetical contest.

Part of the reason Obama looks like he could be competitive against the right Republican opponent is that his position in the state has improved. 42% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 55% who disapprove. His average approval rating in 4 surveys conducted in PPP over the course of 2010 was 38% so he's seeing the same sort of uptick in his numbers there that he's seeing nationally right now.

The other reason for Obama's closeness is the weakness of the Republican candidate field. He'd have no shot against a GOP nominee that voters in the state like. Huckabee's favorability rating is a 51/30 spread and he blows Obama out of the water. But none of the other GOP hopefuls come close to matching that appeal. Romney's favorability is narrowly in positive territory at 40/37, but Gingrich's is negative at 38/44, and Palin's is even worse at 42/53. Texas voters certainly don't like Obama but for the most part they don't see the current Republican front runners as particularly great alternatives.

What's maybe most striking about Obama's competitiveness in these numbers is that they're from the same sample that showed Democrats had virtually no chance of picking up Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat earlier this week, trailing all 12 match ups we tested by double digit margins.

We also tested Rick Perry for President against Obama on the poll and he actually did the worst of the Republicans, earning only a tie. It's hard to say whether that's simply because people want him to serve out his term as Governor or because they really don't think he's cut out for the White House. The next time we do a Texas poll we'll go into greater depth about the causes behind the reluctance of voters in the state to support him for President.

Texas ought to stay safely in the GOP column for 2012 but with a weak nominee Obama would have a chance and these numbers are further confirmation that you're probably talking about 400+ electoral votes for the President next year if his opponent is Sarah Palin.

Full results here

15 comments:

NRH said...

This comes before the Republican-controlled Texas government has to deal with their $27 billion budget deficit, though. If Texas Republicans get people riled up by cutting their already-scanty services too far, or by raising taxes, it's not out of the question that 2012 could see voter anger at Republicans swing the state (at federal or local levels). Still unlikely to generate that much voter anger, but with an unexciting candidate like Romney or an actively disliked one like Palin, it could happen. The Huckster would probably have to really botch things to blow it, though; he's enough of a good ol' boy to get votes in Texas.

Jonny V said...

I know I should be happy that Palin is only up by 1 against Obama in Texas... but really it only reinforces my opinion that the state of Texas is ridiculous and filled with idiots.

Anyone who votes for Sarah Palin over Obama is ... a sad individual.

Texas Political said...

What unbelievable garbage. Obama would lose to any Republican by 10+ in Texas. Probably more like 15 or 20. PPP is the WORST polling outfit in Texas races I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

People who go on about how qualified obama is and then say Palin isn't are morons. obama had not one achievement in his entire life prior to the Presidency that would have indicated he would be competent in the position and he has since proven that his record was an accurate predictor.

PPP is useless. How accurate were they in the lead up to this last election?

Anonymous said...

LOL!! Thanks, after a tough week this is the best laugh I've had in ahwile!!

The Left and the establishment want Huck as the nominee...NOT happening!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, lots of Texas hate here. I don't really care if it keeps losers like you from coming to our great state. As for Obama, other than a few areas in big cities, he is despised for being the empty suit that he is. Also quit bitching about our shortfall. We have a balanced budget in our Constitution. They won't raise taxes either. They'll cut where it needs to be. Over bloated education and welfare rolls. Plus we get to redistrict.

Anonymous said...

Obama and Palin both suck. Hope the Republicans nominate someone, really just about anybody, else.

Angee said...

If Republicans would back Ron Paul we would have a winner and lots of excitement.

WRG said...

Sarah Palin has asked for me to tell you to remove this latest "blood libel" against her. With that said, I do not think one should discount the strong possibility that she WILL BE the GOPer nominee. The Bush Crime Family will move heaven and earth to try to prevent it, including trotting out John Ellis Bush of Florida as a candidate, but some things are just fated to occur. Run Sarah Run!

Jonny V said...

The comments from right wingers about how people on the left want Huckabee as the nominee make me laugh. So delusional and baseless.

I am a progressive/democrat/liberal/socialist/whatever and I don't really want Huckabee as the nominee --- while I do think Obama could beat him, I also think Obama could beat any Republican --- I think Huckabee may be the strongest GOP candidate (although I think once people learn more about him - Romney would probably be stronger.) ...

SARAH PALIN is who we WANT but I think most of us think that's an unrealistic dream at this point. It looks like the Republicans aren't going to be quite crazy enough to give us Palin as the nominee.

AaronTX said...

Huckabee himself said he's not going to participate in the spring republican debates. They're coming up in April/May 2011 folks... so we're running out of time to set the republican field. The chances of Huckabee being part of it are low.

Most candidates announce exploratory committees in the winter after the mid-term or early spring of the year preceding the presidential election, but republicans draw it out a little more than democrats. Bush 43 announced his committee in March '99.

Basically, the republicans who want to contest Obama need to have their operations up and running in the next 3-4 months... running for president is expensive and complicated.

TXSwede said...

When I saw this my initial reaction was that my adopted state is not so conservative that it is suicidal, and I was glad. Then I read the comments from TP and those first three Anonymous'es, and I realized that Jonny V is right: my neighbors ARE a whole lot of crazy.

Mrs Palin was overwhelmed by the duties of being the Alaska governor, and quit to avoid greater public scrutiny. She has not shown ANY intellectual capacity or curiosity. Being President is infinitely harder, but Texans trust her to find her way.

A WHOLE lot of crazy.

Jonny V said...

I should add to my comment that not everyone in Texas is an idiot of course! I know some intelligent informed people that live there. ... in Austin.

Anonymous said...

Obama doesn't stand a snowball's chance in h*** in Texas against anyone. What liberal media outlet did this poll. Texas has about as much chance going Democratic as California has going GOP. Some people live in dreamland.

James said...

All the weirdos live in Austin. They even have a shirt that says Keep Austin Weird. Enough said.

 
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