On Rick Perry, Texas Tribune pollster Daron Shaw stated, “the notion that he's invulnerable is dead.” Such was the reaction to this past week's poll which asked, “If Rick Perry were to run for reelection in the 2014 Gubernatorial election, how likely would you be to vote for him?”
39% answered “somewhat likely” or “very likely.” So, it is true that the governor is no longer invulnerable. But it is also true that immediately after a national blunder that embarrassed the entire state, a full 39% of likely voters still would vote for the governor.
As Ben pointed out, that 39% is the same he received in the 2006 general election. So, while a majority stated themselves unlikely to vote for the governor, it is imaginable that many of those are Republicans who simply expect to vote for a different Republican or an independent. So, we must remember that the typical base of Republicans is even larger than 39%.
Even at rock bottom, 39% of the Texas electorate will vote for the crazy Republican.
That's striking, and it shows how hard it will be to ever elect a Democrat. Even if Democrats run the perfect campaign with the perfect candidate against a disaster of a Republican candidate and a campaign, the Republican will still likely receive 39%. But this isn't a fantasy world. Democrats are incapable of such perfections and we can't count on such Republican blundering at any time.
Texas Democrats must get working, because a stroke of luck simply won't ever cut it. We need higher turnout to change the game, and we need to improve our ability to churn out campaigns that can succeed at all levels statewide.
A great day for Democrats simply based on luck — let's say 45%, slightly higher than Sam Houston's 2008 statewide percentage — still spells less than a majority. And in the Tribune's poll, not even that many said they were very unlikely to vote for a despicable Rick Perry if he runs in 2014.
39% is a pretty good worst-case scenario. That's where Republicans are at, and I bet you that we won't be facing a worst-case scenario come a November. Instead, Democrats will have to turn it up a notch to win anything at any point. The current state of play simply won't cut it.