Incumbent Governor Rick Perry has jumped to a 10-point lead over Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in an early look at next year’s Republican Primary gubernatorial contest in Texas.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely GOP Primary voters in the state finds Perry ahead of Hutchison 46 percent to 36 percent. Five percent (5 percent) prefer some other candidate, and 14 percent remain undecided.
In early May, the two candidates were separated by just four points, with Perry ahead 42 percent to 38 percent.
Perry is seeking an unprecedented third term as governor. Hutchison, a U.S. senator from Texas for 16 years, has formed a committee to explore a possible run for governor but has not yet formally announced her challenge.
Perry has a 17-point lead among male voters, but the two candidates are virtually tied among women. Party moderates and liberals prefer Hutchison, while Perry takes the lead among conservatives.
Both candidates have high and similar favorables among primary voters. These numbers are virtually unchanged from May.
Seventy-six percent (76 percent) have a favorable opinion of the incumbent governor, with 27 percent very favorable. Just 23 percent view him unfavorably, including nine percent (9 percent) very unfavorable.
Hutchison is seen favorably by 72 percent of GOP primary voters, including 27 percent very favorable, and unfavorably by only 25 percent, with seven percent (7 percent) who have a very unfavorable opinion of her.
Seventy-four percent (74 percent) of likely GOP Primary voters now approve of Perry’s job performance as governor, with 25 percent who strongly approve. Twenty-five percent (25 percent) disapprove, including nine percent (9 percent) who strongly disapprove.
Perry won reelection in 2006 with 39 percent of the overall vote. Democrat Chris Bell earned 30 percent, followed by independent candidates Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Richard 'Kinky' Friedman with 18 percent and 12 percent support respectively.
Eighty-two percent (82 percent) of the likely primary voters have a favorable opinion of the tea parties held around Texas. Just 7% believe the economic stimulus plan has helped the economy while 61 percent believe it has hurt. They oppose the health care plan working its way through Congress by an 83 percent to 12 percent margin.