Giving Texas Democrats a boost in advance of their state convention in Corpus Christi this week, a newly released poll shows that former Houston mayor Bill White has advanced into a tie with incumbent Gov. Rick Perry in his bid to become the first Democratic governor since the mid-1990s.
The survey by Public Policy Polling shows the Republican governor and his Democratic challenger deadlocked at 43-43, erasing a 48-42 lead that Perry held in a PPP survey four months ago. White made his gains by picking up more independents and cross-over voters than Perry did, said the pollsters.
"Bill White has the potential to give Democrats their biggest bright spot on what will probably overall be a bad election in November," said Dean Debnam, president of the Raleigh, N.C., polling firm. "A win in the Texas Governor race would be huge for the party and instantaneously make White on of the most prominent Democrats in the country."
The poll also showed that only 10 percent of Texas voters want to see Perry run for president in 2012, compared to 69 percent who prefer that the state's longest-serving governor stay in Texas. Those sentiments cuts across party-lines, said the pollsters, noting that 61 percent of Republicans are against a Perry run for president.
Perry's political assaults on Washington, as well as his victory over U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican gubernatorial primary in March, has fueled speculation that Perry might run for president, but the governor has repeatedly dismissed the talk, saying he's not interested.
-- Dave Montgomery