The Big Conversation:
A new poll confirms it: In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry's approval numbers have taken a beating since his tailspin of a presidential run.
His favorability has even fallen below President Barack Obama's, according to the poll, which was commissioned by the Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News.
The survey, conducted from Saturday to Tuesday, found that just 40 percent of Texas adults approve of Perry's performance as governor, compared with 43 percent who approve of Obama's job performance. That 40 percent, down 10 points from last year, represents one of Perry's lowest-ever approval ratings. In June 2010, Public Policy Polling had his approval at 36 percent. The University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll had Perry's approval at 36 percent and 38 percent in October 2009 and February 2010, respectively.
Perry fared slightly better among registered voters, 42 percent of whom said they approved of his performance, compared with 41 percent for Obama. But 56 percent of registered voters, including 40 percent of Republicans, said Perry should not run for re-election in 2014. His support among Republicans has fallen from 73 percent to 60 percent since last year and among independents has plunged from 46 percent to 29 percent.
"He clearly hurt himself with this run," said poll director Mickey Blum, according to the Statesman. "He didn't do himself any favors at home. … There's a real sense of lost confidence. He is clearly weakened. The number of Texans who say they do not want him to run for re-election is pretty strong."
The drop can be directly attributed to Perry's failed presidential bid. Among registered voters, 41 percent said the governor's run had hurt their view of him, and 48 percent said his bid had hurt Americans' view of Texas.
Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan said poll numbers wouldn't steer Perry's future.
"Gov. Perry remains strongly and conservatively at the helm of Texas state government and may well run for re-election in 2014. He may also run for president again in 2016, especially if President Obama somehow wins a second term," Sullivan said, adding, "The presidential campaign let even more Americans know about Texas' pro-job climate, great quality of life and culture of fiscal responsibility."
- Al Price, the first black member of the Texas House from Southeast Texas, died Tuesday at the age of 81, according to the Beaumont Enterprise. Price served 11 terms in the House, from 1976 to 1998, while working as a pilot.
- The state's 8th Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday about whether the attempt to recall El Paso Mayor John Cook and city Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega over their support for benefits for the partners of gay city employees has been conducted legally, the El Paso Times reports. Cook has argued that organizers of the petition drive against him violated a law barring corporations from making contributions to recall elections.
- Add Social Network actor Armie Hammer to the list of celebrities busted for marijuana possession at the West Texas Border Patrol checkpoint in Sierra Blanca. Hammer, who also recently starred in J. Edgar, spent a day in jail before paying a $1,000 bond, according to The Associated Press. Willie Nelson and rapper Snoop Dogg have also been arrested on marijuana charges at the increasingly infamous checkpoint.
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