Texas GOP 2016 Primary: New Poll Shows Rick Perry Rising in Texas

Hovver logoBy Alex Gonzalez

The new poll by the Texas Tribune shows that Gov. Rick has jumped to second place in the GOP presidential primary in Texas. Though Ted Cruz still leads the GOP pack with a “thin” lead in the state, this new poll is a boost from fifth place in February of 2015 among Republican voters. Similarly, the WSJ’s Poll on Sunday also showed Gov. Perry in fifth place nationally. Both polls indicate that, now that Perry is officially running, Republican voters may be looking into Rick Perry’s executive record as governor of Texas, and thus, have a more favorable opinion of him as a presidential candidate.

How are these good news for Gov. Perry in GOP primary in Texas? A divided base and new primary party rules set up by the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) and Ted Cruz un- favorability is increasing.

TT 1Under national party rules, no state can have a winner-take-all primary before March 15, but the Texas GOP, under Steve Munisteri now working for Rand Paul, crafted a modified winner-take-all system for its March 1 primary.

Under the Texas plan, on primary day, each of the 36 congressional districts elect three GOP delegates, apportioned based on the result in that district among candidates who win at least 20 percent of the vote in that district, unless one candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in that district, in which case that candidate would receive all three delegates. If only one candidate wins more than 20 percent, that candidate would get all three delegates. If no candidate receives at least 20 percent, the three delegates would be divided among the top three vote-getters.

This new Texas Tribune Poll shows Ted Cruz with support of 20 percent of registered voters, followed by Perry at 12 percent, Walker at 10 percent, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 8 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 7 percent.

But even if Ted Cruz is very favorable among Tea Party primary voters in Texas, and he is getting 20 percent among Republican voters, this support will not translate into statewide gains since he will get only a proportion of 155 Texas primary delegates of the of the 36 congressional districts. The rest will have to be shared among the other two top contenders. Moreover, Ted Cruz has polled very low in every national poll.

Thus, this distribution of Texas primary delegates was set up to force many national GOP  candidates to pay attention to Texas, and they succeeded. But it has also diffused some tea party support for Ted Cruz since very few congressional districts – districts in Tarrant and Denton counties – are solid Tea Party areas. Furthermore, Rick Perry was very popular governor in Texas is his name is still highly regarded among Republican groups, especially the so-called “establishment” and pro-growth business Republicans.

Likewise, the Poll also shows that 22 % of respondents said they have a favorable opinion of Ted Cruz, but 29% said they have a very unfavorable opinion of Ted Cruz – see graph.

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The same poll conducted in February by the Texas Tribunes showed Ted Cruz with higher “very favorable” at 26%, somewhat favorable at 15%, Neither Favorable nor Unfavorable at 12%, Somewhat Unfavorable at 8%, Very Unfavorable at 28%.

So Ted Cruz’s favorability among GOP primary voters had a slight drop in the new poll to 22% but his “somewhat” un- favorability has increased by 16%;  24% currently, up from 8% in February, and “very” unfavorable has increased by only 1%.

It appears that un-favorability for Ted Cruz is increasing and favorability  for Rick Perry is on rise. And there is a reason for this increase in Rick Perry’s favorability.

Rick Perry is one of the strongest candidate with an executive management record as a governor of the largest with a population of 27 million. The other possible contender, with similar executive management experience perhaps equal to that of Perry’s is Jeb Bush who was governor of Florida, and who like Perry has a strong conservative record , especially on education.

However, Rick Perry would be the only candidate with a governing conservative plan for the nation in the GOP Texas primary ballot. The so-called Texas Model, which Perry and the Republican legislature created when Perry was in office, has kept Texas with lowest unemployment numbers in the nation, more business creation, and job growth during the recession. Texas official unemployment rates are at 4.2 percent while the national rate is 5.6 percent. In some areas like Midland, unemployment is 2.9 percent.

Texas has the fastest annualized job growth rate (3.3%), the lowest unemployment rate (5.1%), the highest share of the population employed (61.8%), and the highest labor force participation rate (65.1%). Texas’ unemployment rate has been at or below the national average for 90 consecutive months (7 and ½ years) and for 95 consecutive months. And Texas Republican voters are familiarized with this “Texas Model.”

Therefore, there is a lot of room for Rick Perry to increase his favorability among Texas voters, even more.

Sure, Ted Cruz is going to accuse Rick Perry on Immigration for supporting Dreamers in Texas since Cruz has become the chief Dreamer Deporter-in-chief. But Rick Perry also has executive record of “securing the border;” he sent the state National Guard to the Rio Grande region to help with the “humanitarian crisis” created by the flow of Central American kids last summer. As a result,  he could have a strong support from Republicans voter in South Texas for “securing the border” while showing some “compassion” for Central American kids; he never blamed the Central American minors who came to Texas, he blamed D.C. politicians and gridlock in Congress for not fixing the Broken Immigration system we currently have, and for not providing enough resources to deal and prevent with the “crisis.”

The new poll by the Texas Tribune also show the Border Security is still a “top issue.”

It is very unlikely that Jeb Bush and Rick Perry will attack each other on Immigration since both have similar views supporting a path legalization once the border is “secured.” And both have close ties to Mexican-Americans in the southwest.

This poll by Texas Tribune also open the door for Rick Perry to promote his economic and education policy achievements among Republican voters. Conversely, Ted Cruz has nothing to show in policy formulation on those issues other than his opposition to Deferred Action for minors (DACA) and the Senate Immigration Bill S.744. So the upcoming Texas GOP primary will be the doers v. talkers in as state that has decentralized allocation of primary delegates where no presidential candidate can claim the 155 delegates.

The Latino Possibility
In Texas Rick Perry and Jeb Bush is are a well-known names among Latinos voter in Texas due to his staunch commitment to education, and immigration reform by Jeb Bush. So the names Perry and Bush will also resonate well with Latino voters; the name Bush is still is synonymous of “compassionate conservatism, or “positive conservatism” that attracts Latino to the GOP, especially in Texas where Latinos tend to be more conservative than in other states.

The Midland area in West Texas where unemployment is about 2.9%, just like the South part of San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley, have seen a boost in their economies due to shale exploration, an “Energy Revolution” as many oil experts have dubbed it. So there is correlation between the energy revolution and the boost in the economy in areas of Texas that are heavily Hispanic. And Rick Perry is an adamant promoter of an energy reform to secure our independence from hostile nation in the Middle East and foster domestic economic growth.

So from south Texas to Midland many Latino voters will be attracted to Rick Perry’s record on education and  jobs,  and new ideas for energy reforms to make Texas and the nation most prosperous.

meAlex Gonzalez  is a political Analyst and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote. Comments: vote@latinosreadytovote.com



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