May 19, 2004
Perry: Not popular at all

If the numbers are mixed for President Bush, they're awful for Governor Perry:

1. How would you rate the job Rick Perry is doing as governor?

Spring '04 Fall '03 Spring '03
Excellent 6% 10% 10%
Good 31% 36% 40%
Only fair 32% 24% 32%
Poor 20% 20% 12%
DK/NA 11% 10% 6%


Perry's disapproval rating in the winter and spring Texas Poll surveys has been the highest of any Texas governor since Bill Clements was enmeshed in a pay-for-play football scandal at Southern Methodist University in 1987.

But the biggest sign that Perry's re-election may be in jeopardy is how his job approval among Republicans sank like a stone during the past three months.

Among Republicans, 66 percent said Perry was doing a good job in the winter poll. Now, 51 percent of Republicans approve of Perry's job performance -- a 15 percentage point drop.

More perspective:

"He is in trouble," Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University, said of Mr. Perry. "He's seen as more partisan than thoughtful."

The index page also adds that Perry's negatives "compares to Ann Richards' negative reviews in November 1994, when 48 percent gave a thumbs-down to the governor who had just been defeated."

Now, if you read all of these stories, no one in Austin has good numbers right now, something that's surely a by-product of the useless, do-nothing special session that just ended. Comptroller Strayhorn has the best ratings, with Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Speaker Craddick, and the Lege overall all following Perry. Most people will forget about this stuff over time. 2006 is a long way away, and only a handful of legislators really have to worry about their seats this year. But I do believe that this is an opening, and it's one that could be forced wider if the Democrats are smart about it (standard disclaimer: that's never a good bet). The next legislative session, whether another "special" session or next January's regular session, ought to be a doozy if these numbers haven't improved by then.

UPDATE: Andrew D adds a few thoughts.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 19, 2004 to The great state of Texas | TrackBack

Asking Texas Democrats to be smart seems to be like asking the same of California Republicans. They tend to have a way of shooting themselves in the foot, even when they do have a rare opportunity to make inroads on increasing their ranks.

Still, something would have to happen for Perry's approval to snap back. I don't see anything out there that would do that.

Posted by: Tim on May 19, 2004 12:47 PM