Republicans have held the Texas governorship since George W. Bush ousted the late Ann Richards 16 years ago, but it looks like Bush’s successor, Rick Perry, is facing by far the closest contest with a Democratic challenger during that time. Since Public Policy Polling (PPP) last polled the race exactly four months ago, former Houston Mayor Bill White has brought incumbent Rick Perry from a 48-42 lead into a 43-43 tie. White has done that by reversing a 47-36 Perry lead among independents to a 42-36 lead for himself.
In most states, in this Republican election year, not only is the Republican leading among independents, but he is drawing more crossover support than the Democratic candidate. Bill White continues to buck that trend, as he did in February’s poll, by garnering 15% of Texas Republicans to Perry’s 10% of Democrats. Both candidates have seen more of their own party’s voters go into the undecided column, bringing their partisan support from the mid-80% range to the mid-70% range, with White still holding more of his own base than Perry does.
“Bill White has the potential to give Democrats their biggest bright spot on what will probably overall be a bad election night in November,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “A win in the Texas Governor race would be huge for the party and instantaneously make White one of the most prominent Democrats in the country.”
PPP surveyed 500 Texas voters from June 19th to 21st. The margin of error for the survey is +/-4.4%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.