UPDATE: For those of you who subscribe to Texas Weekly, they wrote up a piece regarding this same poll that shows Texans job approval of Rick Perry and Barack Obama is the same. Weird.
Let me just start by saying how glad I am that there’s no job approval rating system for my blog (even though there is, and it’s called traffic, and it’s abysmal… but I’m new! Cut me some slack). Elected officials aren’t so lucky, though.
The Texas Credit Union League (who?) released results yesterday from a late-April poll that showed job approval ratings for statewide elected officials including Gov. Perry, Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, Attorney General Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Comptroller Susan Combs. The poll also tracked the job approval rating of President Obama and asked Texans if they believe the country is headed in the right direction. Read the release here.
Side note: what the TCUL really wants you to take from this poll is that Texans are LOSING THEIR MINDS over how much they love credit unions. For instance, did you know credit unions favorability ratings dropped only two percentage points from 2004 to 2009 (77 percent to 75)? There is a slide titled “The financial crisis has taken a toll on banks, but credit unions are as popular as ever.” Really.
Back to important matters: Susan Combs, who announced yesterday her intentions to run for re-election as comptroller, has a 44 percent approval rating and only a 9 percent disapproval rating. I have no idea if she was able to look at this data before announcing her decision to run again, but that 35 point differential certainly looks good.
On to the big three: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is doing better at her job than any other elected official, according to all respondents. She has an approval rating of 66, with only 18 disapproving (+48 points). Sen. John Cornyn has a 47 percent approval rating, but only 22 percent disapprove. Those aren’t fantastic numbers for Cornyn, but they’re nothing to worry about for a senator who just won re-election last year. Gov. Perry has a 52 percent approval rating–better than Cornyn, not as good as Hutchison–but a statewide worst 40 percent disapproval rating.
Here’s why this matters: Perry is in the process of working up a positive PR campaign for the accomplishments of the 81st legislative session. His argument has to be that his leadership helped bring about the positive results. The trouble he’s facing, which may be reflected in these numbers, is that so much focus in the last few months has been on the divisive issue of voter ID and the potential shutdown of five state agencies. It’s an uphill climb, but he’s a very capabable politician.
This poll is good news for Sen. Hutchison for reasons I haven’t yet addressed. A further breakdown of the numbers reveals that 74 percent of core GOP primary voters approve of the works she’s doing, while only 12 percent do not (+62 points). Perry’s numbers, while good, show a greater disparity and perhaps unrest among the core GOPers: 67 percent approve, 25 percent do not (+42 points).
If you’re feeling queasy from all the numbers, just bear with me one more time (and this one should be easy). Hutchison also leads Perry in job approval in every single subset of GOP voters (Hutchison first, then Perry): Very Conservative: 74-73, Somewhat Conservative 72-67, Moderately Conservative 76-65. He’s ahead of her by 3 points among Rush Lumbaugh listeners (80 to 77) but her disapproval numbers are nearly half of his (17 to 9).
Alright, I realize that was a lot to stomach, but hopefully the graphs helped. While this is perhaps not a clear indicator of how GOP primary voters may choose to vote, it certainly factors into the race. Voters simply will not re-elect someone to a third consecutive term that they believe is not doing well at the job. Perry’s goal must be to show voters that he can actually provide leadership. Hutchison needs to keep doing what she’s doing until there’s a formal announcement of some sort. Click here for the full Powerpoint that accompanied the TCUL’s press release.
And we’d all benefit from a credit union membership, apparently. The Rick vs. Kay blog takes a look at this data from another pespective–check it out.