If anything, the results of an already outdated University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll posted this morning -- outdated in that it features three would-be GOP presidential candidates who've said they aren't running -- more than likely reveal that at least 800 registered-to-vote Texans take Governor Rick Perry at his word when he says he has no intention of running for the White House. That, perhaps, explains why Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann poll better than Perry, who ties Tim Pawlenty with four percent of the yay's collected. Leading all comers, though: "Don't Know."
And speaking of undecideds, that describes 50 percent of those asked who they'd vote today for in the Republican U.S. primary. David Dewhurt's in solid second, with 25 percent of the theoretical vote. And how'd former Mayor Tom Leppert fare? The good news for Leppert: He's tied for third. The bad news: That's with just four percent. But all of this comes with a big ol' caveat:
It's still early, cautions Jim Henson, who teaches government at UT, runs the Texas Politics Project and co-directs the poll. He doesn't think Perry's numbers are a big deal. "At this point, he's clearly not seen as a candidate," he says.
Support for "red meat" Republican candidates on the presidential list is stronger among men, [Daron Shaw, co-director of the poll and a government professor at UT] says. "Baby boomer women are a huge issue for Republicans," he says. "When they have trouble with those women, that's when they get wiped out in Dallas, that's when they win by 6 points statewide instead of by 12 or 14. You have to watch your flank, and that flank is women who are worried about education, about safety net issues, about the fabric of their communities. ...They get concerned about gutting the whole thing."
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