A new Rasmussen poll of likely Republican primary voters shows Kay Bailey Hutchison with 40 percent and Rick Perry with 38 percent. Two months ago, in mid July, a Rasmussen poll showed Rick Perry leading Kay Bailey Hutchison by 10 points in the Republican Gubernatorial primary.
The two candidates have practically identical approval ratings among the likely primary voters, with Perry at 72 percent and Hutchison at 71 percent.
The polling report included some interesting points on Perry's approval rating as governor:
Sixty-nine percent (69%) of primary voters now approve of the job Perry is doing as governor, down five points from July. Twenty-nine percent (29%) disapprove of the governor’s performance. Perhaps more significantly, 20% strongly approve, down five points from the previous survey, while 12% strongly disapprove, up three points.
In a primary will relatively low turnout, the intensity of support matters greatly. To see Perry's “strongly approve” go down and “strongly disapprove” go up, even slightly, may worry the Governor's campaign team.
While the polling at first glance seems like good news for Hutchison and bad news for Perry, a question still remains about how a challenger, even one as popular as Hutchison, can defeat a ten-year incumbent governor who has a nearly 70 percent approval rating among likely primary voters.
Some of Perry's largest leads in the poll were from self-identified conservatives and voters under 65, two groups that will likely make up a disproportionately high percentage of Republican primary voters next March.