(Public Policy Polling (.PDF), 02/23/2010)
Debra Medina’s strong standing in Public Policy Polling’s last survey of the Texas Republican primary for Governor has faded and the race once again looks like it will come down to incumbent Rick Perry and challenger Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Perry leads with 40% to 31% for Hutchison and 20% for Medina, suggesting that a runoff is likely unless the Governor picks off most of the remaining undecideds.
Interestingly enough, Medina (36/55) does just about as well in a runoff with Perry as does Hutchison (35/52). A second problem for Hutchison is that her job-approval numbers (47%) are trending lower than Perry's (50%). Not surprising (to this moderate) is that more moderates (56%) disapprove of the Republican Party's current direction than do Conservatives (35%). Despite this, 60% of Conservatives still feel that the Republican Party is too liberal.
What that last bullet point suggests to me is that there might be an opening for Bill White (the presumed Democratic nominee) to siphon off some moderate and liberal (There are liberal Republicans in Texas?) votes from Perry in the general.
Will this be enough to overcome the Republicans (fading) structural advantage? Probably not.